WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Praising his leadership and even his culinary skills, President Joe Biden on Thursday formally announced his nomination of Air Force chief General Charles Q. Brown as the top U.S. military officer, making the choice at a time of mounting American concern over security threats posed by Russia and China.
“General Brown has built a reputation across the force as an unflappable and highly effective leader, as someone who creates an environment of teamwork, trust and then executes with excellence – and someone who smokes a mean brisket,” Biden said during his White House Rose Garden announcement.
Officials on Wednesday disclosed Biden’s selection of Brown for a four-year stint as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, succeeding outgoing Army General Mark Milley. Brown would take the post at a time when the United States is providing billions of dollars in military equipment to Ukraine after Russia’s invasion last year and is keeping a close watch on China’s stance toward Taiwan.
If confirmed by the Senate, Brown would become only the second Black officer to hold the job after Colin Powell, who served in the position from 1989 to 1993.
Biden, running for re-election next year, was flanked by Brown, Vice President Kamala Harris and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin during the announcement. Harris is the first Black vice president and Austin the first Black defense secretary – the Pentagon’s civilian leader.
“He is an incredibly capable and professional officer and what he brings to the table, to any table, is that professionalism, that deep experience in war fighting and I have personal knowledge of that,” Austin, speaking earlier in the day at the Pentagon, said of Brown.
Biden urged the Senate to confirm Brown. However, the timetable for the confirmation process appeared uncertain.
Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville has been blocking military nominations from moving forward since February because he contends the Pentagon improperly uses taxpayer funds to cover travel costs for female service members who obtain abortions.
A spokesman for Tuberville said Brown’s nomination would be affected because the hold applies to all high-level promotions.
(Reporting by Idrees Ali, Phil Stewart, Doina Chiacu, Nandita Bose and Patricia ZengerleEditing by Will Dunham, Don Durfee and Deepa Babington)