Air Drive Chief of Workers Gen. Charles Q. Brown’s testimony earlier than the Senate Armed Companies Committee on July 11 at his affirmation listening to to turn into the subsequent Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Workers supplied intensive statements from lawmakers in between inquiries to the final. Over the course of two and a half hours, Brown answered questions on subjects starting from the potential sale electromagnetic spectrum to the way forward for Homestead Air Reserve Base in Florida.
However amongst his responses widespread themes emerged, providing new perception perception into how Brown will method the Chairman’s position.
An Operator’s Perspective
Brown emphasised his operational expertise repeatedly—in addition to his relative outsider standing within the Pentagon, the place he has spent comparatively little time for such a high-ranking officer.
“For the 11 years prior [to becoming Chief of Staff], I served in seven assignments throughout 4 combatant instructions—EUCOM, AFRICOM, CENTCOM, and INDOPACOM. I’ve held management positions centered on our 5 nationwide safety challenges—China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, and violent extremists,” mentioned Brown. “So, I arrive earlier than you having spent much less time as a basic officer in Washington D.C. and extra time with our fielded forces allies and companions, both in battle or making ready for battle. Having led warfighters overseas shapes my pondering. Consequently, I’m conscious of the safety challenges at this consequential time and the necessity to speed up to remain forward of the rising menace.”
Brown’s expertise in Command of Pacific Air Forces, at Air Forces Central, and as Deputy Commander of U.S. Central Command uncovered him to allies’ high navy leaders, an asset for any Chairman searching for to construct worldwide consensus.
“One of many advantages that I’ve had as having served as a commander of Pacific Air Forces is the variety of air chiefs and chiefs of protection and in some instances, ministers of protection that I’ve recognized personally, had an opportunity to have interaction with,” mentioned Brown. “That dialogue to me is vastly vital to find out how greatest we will transfer ahead and break down limitations and determine areas that we will work collectively on…not solely as a navy, but additionally between our nations, as effectively. And that’s the place my focus shall be: to proceed that dialogue to make sure we will work collectively after which spotlight the place the challenges could also be after which work with the proper entities to have the ability to transfer ahead to make sure that we’re in a position to win the subsequent conflict if referred to as upon to take action, however undoubtedly deter or keep away from conflict.”
Brown’s studious repute is that of analytical thinker who research points deeply, tendencies that have been on full show in his affirmation listening to.
“I’m an engineer by background, so doing assessments and doing evaluation is how I take into consideration issues,” Brown informed Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) when requested about shifting assets inside Europe. “And that’s one thing we do must don’t only for Europe, however I’d say for all of our main safety challenges, to proceed to reassess.”
Brown’s analytical method melded effectively with that of Air Drive Secretary Frank Kendall, and his towards evaluation helped formed the Air Drive’s modernization program, together with divesting older platforms to fund the event of future programs.
“I’ve typically talked about how now we have to stability danger over time and take a look at functionality and capability,” Brown mentioned. “As a result of we will’t simply attempt to modernize fully on the danger of right now’s operations, and on the identical time, we will’t keep all functionality for right now’s operations and never have the capabilities [needed for] the threats we see forthcoming. And so between that, as you take a look at that iron triangle, it’s the stability between these.
“We are able to work on emotion, however emotion doesn’t work. It’s actually the evaluation that now we have to undergo to have the ability to decide how we make these robust calls.”
If confirmed, Brown pledged to foster an surroundings as Chairman by which “you step away from your individual empirical pursuits after which we do what’s greatest, not simply in your a part of the group, however what’s greatest for all the group.”
China and the Indo-Pacific
Brown talked about China—America’s “pacing problem,” in keeping with the Nationwide Protection Technique—simply as soon as by title all through his whole testimony. But he had a lot to say concerning the Indo-Pacific area and supplied hints about his views on deterrence and readiness for battle with the Chinese language.
“You can’t wait till the disaster happens to have the ability to deploy functionality,” Brown mentioned. “You must pre-position functionality and have that in place. You must work with allies and companions to have entry to places, so you possibly can put functionality into place. And that’s an space that we’re centered on not solely as an Air Drive, however I’d additionally say as a joint power.”
Brown highlighted Air Mobility Command’s huge Mobility Guardian train, in addition to CORONA South, a current logistics-focused tabletop train held in June amongst senior leaders.
Russia’s Conflict on Ukraine
Brown mentioned logistics figures excessive on the record of classes from the conflict in Ukraine.
“I believe the Russians discovered in the event you don’t take note of the logistics, it’s onerous to win and onerous to maneuver ahead,” he mentioned. “I believe we additionally discovered that the timeline for navy operations, notably in a battle, generally takes longer than we would count on, and that’s additionally a problem.”
However Brown additionally famous how NATO allies got here collectively to assist Ukraine with arms and intelligence, the significance of Ukrainians’ intense will to battle, and the enduring classes about airpower and the necessity to obtain air superiority, are the conflict’s key takeaways.
Questions concerning America’s protection industrial base have grown extra pressing in current months, and Brown himself mentioned throughout the listening to that he believes Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has “uncovered” cracks within the base as U.S. weapons stockpiles dwindle. To fight that, he urged lawmakers to approve the Pentagon’s request for multiyear procurement buys of sure munitions, saying they’re vital to supply regular demand to contractors.
“Simply primarily based on expertise after I was air commander for United States Central Command throughout the defeat ISIS marketing campaign, and we had some comparable conversations again in 2017-ish timeframe when North Korea was very energetic. We did some evaluations and did spotlight it then,” Brown mentioned of the economic base’s issues. “Now it’s highlighting much more so. And it’s the facet of why it’s vital for us to not solely put money into the platforms however put money into munitions that they’ve sufficient stockpile, notably the superior munitions which are only.”
The Apolitical Meritocracy
Brown sought to remain above political debates throughout his listening to, declaring that he would set a “private instance” of staying apolitical and urging civilian leaders to maintain the navy out of political fights. However a number of Senators pressed him on Air Drive variety, fairness, and inclusion insurance policies, with some lawmakers suggesting the service was partaking in what Sen. Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.) referred to as “race-based politics.”
Brown responded that he believes service members merely need a “truthful alternative to carry out” and that they should be certified for the positions they fill.
“I’ll simply inform you from my very own profession: Once I got here in, and flying F-16s, I didn’t need to be one of the best African American F-16 pilot; I need to be one of the best F-16 pilot,” Brown mentioned. “I’d say the identical factor after I went to be an teacher on the weapons college … [and in] each place I’ve had all through my profession. I needed it as a result of I used to be one of the best and certified. I didn’t need to be supplied a place of promotion primarily based on my background. I needed it to be primarily based on the standard of my work. And I believe that’s the facet that each one of our service members search for: They need a good alternative, however in addition they be rewarded for his or her efficiency.”