Pacific Air Forces boss Gen. C.Q. Brown Jr. will get his shot at becoming the Air Force’s next Chief of Staff at his Senate confirmation hearing scheduled for May 7.
The Senate Armed Services Committee plans to vet Brown, Navy Secretary nominee Kenneth Braithwaite, and Deputy Under Secretary Of Defense For Policy nominee James Anderson in its second in-person hearing since returning from an extended recess due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“For this hearing, the Senate Armed Services Committee will follow guidelines developed in consultation with the Office of the Attending Physician, the Senate Sergeant at Arms, and the Senate Rules Committee to protect the health of members, witnesses, staff, and the public,” the committee said. “This includes maintaining 6-foot social distance spacing in the hearing room.”
The committee is banning the public from attending the hearing in person, in accordance with Senate rules that allow only visitors on official business and members of the press into Senate office buildings during the pandemic. The hearing will be livestreamed.
If confirmed, Brown will be the first black man to serve as the Air Force’s top uniformed officer. The decorated combat pilot has led Airmen in two of the highest-profile regions for the military at Air Forces Central Command and Pacific Air Forces, and served as deputy commander of U.S. Central Command. He would succeed Gen. David Goldfein, who has served as the service’s top uniformed officer since July 2016, at a time of high hopes for Air Force modernization and great uncertainty in the face of the pandemic.
Senators are likely to support Brown’s nomination. The committee is “fully prepared to proceed quickly with nominations,” a top priority once the Senate returns, SASC spokeswoman Marta Hernandez said April 23. Once approved by SASC, the full Senate must vote to confirm Brown.
On May 6, the committee will also host DOD Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy, Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Mike Griffin, National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing Advisory Board Chairman Thad Allen, and Chief of Space Operations Gen. Jay Raymond at a hearing on potential conflicts between Ligado Networks and the GPS enterprise.