Biden lauds leadership skills of his pick for top US general

US President Joe Biden lauded Air Force General Charles Brown Jr (right), as a hero, at a White House nomination ceremony. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON - Praising his leadership and even his culinary skills, US President Joe Biden on Thursday formally announced his nomination of Air Force chief Charles Brown as the top US 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,” Mr Biden said, during his White House Rose Garden announcement.

Officials on Wednesday disclosed Mr Biden’s selection of General Brown for a four-year stint as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, succeeding outgoing Army General Mark Milley.

Gen. 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 in 2022 and is keeping a close watch on China’s stance towards Taiwan.

If confirmed by the Senate, Gen. Brown would become only the second black officer to hold the job after Mr Colin Powell, who served in the position from 1989 to 1993.

Mr Biden, running for re-election in 2024, was flanked by Gen. Brown, Vice-President Kamala Harris and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin during the announcement. Ms Harris is the first black vice-president and Mr Austin the first Black defence 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,” Mr Austin, speaking earlier in the day at the Pentagon, said of Gen. Brown.

Mr Biden urged the Senate to confirm Gen. 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 Mr Tuberville said Gen. Brown’s nomination would be affected because the hold applies to all high-level promotions. REUTERS

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