HomeMiddle EastMeet General Charles Brown: The US Air Force Chief Picked To Be...

Meet General Charles Brown: The US Air Force Chief Picked To Be The Pentagon’s Top General

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden announced Thursday his nomination of US Air Force General Charles “CQ” Brown to become the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, replacing the The Pentagon’s current top general, Army General Mark Milley.

If confirmed by the Senate, Brown would become Biden’s closest military adviser as the United States scrambles to modernize the joint military force to avoid a potential conflict with China after two decades of counterinsurgency wars in the Middle East.

As the US Air Force’s first black chief of staff, Brown has become known as an innovator who pushed the service to cut red tape while adapting to new capabilities in joint warfare.

“Since (Operation) Desert Storm, the US Air Force has enjoyed a historically anomalous period of dominance,” Brown wrote in a 2020 manifesto titled “Race, Change, or Lose.”

“These assumptions are no longer valid today,” Brown wrote. “We now see competitors outpacing our current decision structures and filing deadlines.”

It’s a message that has resonated with President Biden and his National Security Council.

“General, you are right,” Biden said during Brown’s nomination ceremony in the Rose Garden on Thursday. “As I have often said, our world is at a tipping point where the decisions we make today will determine the course of our world for decades to come,” the president added.

Former US officials who spoke to Al-Monitor described Brown as an ideal candidate as the Pentagon looks to keep up. with the rapid advances of Chinanoting that the general also brings experience navigating a delicate balance of power in the Middle East at a time when US forces are thinly dispersed in the region following withdrawals from Afghanistan and Iraq.

Brown, who oversaw US Air Force units in the Middle East beginning in 2015 and became the deputy commander of CENTCOM during the US-led coalition war against the Islamic State, previously served as director of operations and strategic deterrence at the US European Command after the invasion of Russia. from eastern Ukraine.

His tenure at CENTCOM coincided with a fierce US-led bombing campaign against IS that has been criticized for the resulting civilian casualties. Under the direction of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, the Pentagon has promised to reform its approach to documenting and reducing harm against civilians.

As Air Force chief of staff last January, Brown traveled to Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan to support CENTCOM initiatives in the region, including encouraging regional governments to work together on defense. shared aerial and experimentation. with commercially available drone technology and artificial intelligence.

As the Pentagon has withdrawn troops and a number of heavier US weapons systems from the Middle East in recent years to be ready in other parts of the world, CENTCOM has been experimenting with unmanned sensors connected via networks of distributed mesh communications in an attempt to expand. surveillance and intelligence gathering in the region’s hotspots.

CENTCOM initiatives, including Air Force Task Force 99, are designed to find new ways around the Pentagon’s bloated procurement bureaucracy, which Brown has expressed as a key priority to keep pace with US adversaries.

Pentagon officials expect these emerging capabilities to become increasingly valuable in the event of a future conflict with China over Taiwan, a contingency Brown insisted in February is neither imminent nor inevitable.

“The goal is to avoid it. So without knowing when things might happen, my goal is to be ready today, tomorrow, next week, next year, next decade,” he said.

It was Brown’s experience as the top commander of US Air Force units in the Pacific that was central to the White House decision, the New York Times reported. Biden’s choice, which Politico first reported on earlier this week, came on the recommendation of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

Brown “is a highly experienced, decorated and respected US Air Force officer with the right character to be the most senior military adviser to the President of the United States,” said Mick Mulroy, a former Pentagon policy director. for the Middle East.

Mulroy highlighted Brown’s history as an F-16 and F-22 Raptor pilot: “experience that will be invaluable in the type of conflict that is currently taking place in the Ukraine and could potentially take place in Taiwan.”

The Biden White House adopted and drew heavily on the previous administration’s 2018 National Defense Strategy, which prioritized Russia and China as adversaries that were rapidly gaining US military superiority and thus Thus, they were increasingly capable of threatening the post-World War II international order imposed by Washington.

But the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran in 2018 led to a cycle of escalation with the Islamic Republic that resulted in major US military deployments to prepare for contests with Beijing and Moscow.

Brown is unlikely to face the heated internal debates over Middle East deployments that his predecessors faced during the Trump administration, experts said.

“For the first time in a long time, there is real synchrony between the OSD (Office of the Secretary of Defense), CENTCOM and the National Security Council on what the US military engagement in the Middle East should look like,” he said. Jonathan Lord, director. of the Middle East Security Program at the Center for a New American Security, a Washington, DC-based think tank.

However, the conflicts in the region have never respected Washington’s deadlines. Israeli national security officials are increasingly concerned about Iran’s capabilities around its nuclear program and weapons potential. Al-Monitor has reported.

“The CENTCOM region is at the greatest risk of derailing the National Defense Strategy with a critical international incident that may require a response using unplanned resources and attention,” said the commander of all US forces in the Middle East, General Michael. Erik” Kurilla told lawmakers in March.

In January, the CENTCOM Air Force component staged the largest ever combined war games with Israel culminating in simulated long-range strikes against strategic targets. Former US officials described the exercise as representative of the Pentagon’s operational plans to attack Iran’s nuclear sites.

However, Pentagon officials downplayed Iran’s point of view and touted the event as a swift and successful deployment of overwhelming US force to the region at short notice without relying on long-term deployments.

During Brown’s tenure as Air Force chief of staff, the service implemented a new approach known as Agile Combat Employment, in which US air forces would deploy rapidly among groups of smaller bases rather than focus on major hubs.

“Fundamentally changing how we generate airpower will complicate adversary planning and provide more options for our joint and coalition force commanders,” Brown said last year.

“Our approach to operations for the last 20 years has prioritized efficiency in an environment that is not highly contested.”

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