President Joe Biden will nominate Air Force Gen. CQ Brown Jr. to serve as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to replace Army Gen. Mark Milley, who is retiring in October, a senior US official confirmed with Fox News.
The president plans to unveil Brown, a history-making fighter pilot, as his nominee during a Rose Garden event Thursday afternoon.
Brown, 60, was widely considered the frontrunner to replace Milley, especially as the Pentagon transitions its military capabilities away from land wars of the past to meet China’s growing cyber war, space, nuclear and hypersonic threats.
According to a senior administration official, Biden sees Brown as the right person to be the nation’s next top military officer because of how he has modernized U.S. airpower for a potential 21st-century fight, including updating the U.S. fleet and bolstering its nuclear arsenal.
Brown, a career F-16 fighter pilot with more than 3,000 flight hours, has commanded at every possible level in the Air Force and in joint commands, including in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
He served as Pacific Air Forces commander, where he countered China in the Indo-Pacific.
Brown has also been deeply involved in the Pentagon’s efforts in Ukraine, as he has overseen the billions of dollars in U.S. financial and military aid supplied to the country.
Previously, he helped lead the U.S. air campaign against the Islamic State militant group.
Brown has also broken several barriers throughout his career, as he became the first Black Air Force chief of staff, the service’s top military officer, three years ago. The appointment also made him the first African American to lead any of the military branches.
He was first commissioned in 1984 after graduating from the ROTC program at Texas Tech University with a degree in civil engineering.
Brown’s confirmation is not certain, however, as Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., has blocked recent military nominations.
He opposes the Pentagon’s policy of allowing funds to be used for military personnel who seek abortions if they are based in states where the operation is illegal.
The Joint Chiefs chairman is the highest-ranking officer in the country and serves as the senior military advisor to the president, the defense secretary and the National Security Council.
The chairman commands no troops but plays a critical role in all major military issues, making policy decisions and giving advice on major combat operations.
The position also leads all the joint chiefs who head the various armed services.
If Brown is confirmed by the Senate, both of the Pentagon’s top military and civilian positions would be held by African Americans for the first time. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, the first Black Pentagon chief, was confirmed in January 2021.
Army Gen. Colin Powell is the only other Black person to serve as Joint Chiefs chairman.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.