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Commander for air war against ISIS nominated for CENTCOM position

This story, originally published April 26, has been updated with comments from Lt. Gen. Brown. 

The head of Air Forces Central Command waging an air war against the Islamic State group has been nominated to serve under CENTCOM, the Defense Department said Tuesday.

Lt. Gen. Charles Brown Jr., if confirmed, would become the deputy commander of U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida.

"I am humbled and honored to be considered for this position," Brown said in a statement. "It's extremely rewarding to work with such a professional team of coalition and joint partners in the current fight. If confirmed, I look forward to having the opportunity to build upon the tremendous teamwork and continue this important work with our partners."

Brown has commanded an active campaign against ISIS fighters in Iraq and Syria for the last year, and has monitored emerging insurgent groups in Afghanistan from Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar.

"By the time we get to the end of 2016, I hope to be pretty well done with Daesh," Brown told Air Force Times in December, using an alternative name for the Islamic State group. "That's probably aspirational, but I think we are putting pressure on Daesh."

Under his tenure, airstrikes have moved into varying, strategic phases to not only kill extremists, but to also cripple their oil and cash supply.

For example, officials requested B-52 bombers to the theater for "desired airpower effects," Brown said earlier this month when several Stratofortresses landed at Al Udeid. The Cold War-era bombers conducted their first successful strikes on an ISIS weapons storage facility last week.

"We've been able to identify and strike strategic targets that place increased pressure on their ability to recruit and sustain operations," Brown recently told USA Today, citing statistics the U.S.-led coalition has been launching 15 strikes against cash depots and more than 125 attacks on oil infrastructure over the past six months.

Brown, a command pilot with more than 2,890 flying hours, including 95 combat hours, was previously a deputy director of operations at CENTCOM between 2011 and 2013, according to his Air Force biography.

He held various positions within AFCENT afterward. But in 2014, Brown became the director of operations, strategic deterrence and nuclear integration for U.S. Air Forces in Europe. He received his third star a year later and returned to the Middle East.

Oriana Pawlyk covers deployments, cyber, Guard/Reserve, uniforms, physical training, crime and operations in the Middle East and Europe for Air Force Times. She was the Early Bird Brief editor in 2015. Email her at opawlyk@airforcetimes.com.

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