U.S. Senate Confirms Next Chairman Of The Joint Chiefs Of Staff

September 21, 2023

“… he will bring his discipline, focus and perspective to his new duties during these consequential times.”

Secretary of the United States Air Force Frank Kendall on the Senate’s confirmation of Air Force Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. to be the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Why It Matters: When Army Gen. Mark Milley steps down as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the end of September, Gen. Brown will take his position becoming the U.S.’ highest-ranking military officer. The position serves as the top military advisor to the U.S. president and the National Security Council. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin – another top-ranking military officer – said of Brown’s confirmation, “He will be a tremendous leader of our joint force and I look forward to working with him in his new capacity.” Learn about Gen. Brown’s background HERE.

Context: Gen. Brown’s confirmation was achieved through a non-traditional route in the Senate after Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) chose for the Senate to vote on President Biden’s nomination of Brown individually (typically, military nominations are approved in batch unanimously, so as not to politicize the votes of military commanders). The confirmation of more than 300 military nominees has been held up in the Senate as Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) has blocked the traditional process of confirmation in protest of the military policy that pays for the travel of service members and their dependents who may have to go out of state to receive an abortion. Tuberville said, “If the Pentagon lifts the policy, then I will lift the hold.”

Big Picture: Officials have said that if Tuberville’s hold is not lifted by the end of the year, around 650 Defense Department generals and admirals could be impacted. Meanwhile, Schumer has taken action to confirm the top leaders of the Marine Corps and the Army through the same process of an individual vote, “arguing that any further delays could pose a risk to national security” (The Washington Post).

While Sen. Tubervile’s hold on confirming military nominees in batch is still in place, The Washington Post reports, “An independent assessment by the Congressional Research Service last month found that working on all frozen nominations one-by-one would take months, even if the Senate focused on virtually nothing else.”

Senate confirms Joint Chiefs chair in respite from Tuberville blockade

Statement by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III on the Confirmation of General Charles Q. Brown, Jr. as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Air Force Secretary Statement on Gen. Brown’s Confirmation

Biography: General Charles Q. Brown, Jr.

In a nomination hearing in July, Gen. Brown – who is currently serving as the Air Force Chief of Staff with more than 3,000 flying hours as a command pilot – explained, “Having led warfighters abroad shapes my thinking.”

Watch our snippet from his hearing below:

by Leah Grainery, based in Texas