Lt. Gen. Charles Brown Jr., who led the air war against the Islamic State before becoming the deputy commander for U.S. Central Command, has been nominated to receive his fourth star and be the next commander of Pacific Air Forces.
Brown has been deputy commander of CENTCOM at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida since July 2016. Prior to that, he served as the head of Air Forces Central Command since June 2015.
If confirmed, Brown would succeed current PACAF commander Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy, who has been nominated to be the next commander of U.S. Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD.
As commander of PACAF, based at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii, Brown would oversee the air component of U.S. Pacific Command at a time of increasing tensions in the region.
PACAF’s responsibilities include the continuous bomber presence mission, in which a rotating stable of B-1B Lancer, B-52 Stratofortress, and B-2 Spirit bombers are meant to reassure U.S. allies in the Pacific and deter potential adversaries such as China and North Korea.
PACAF bases include Andersen Air Force Base in Guam; Kadena, Misawa and Yokota air bases in Japan; and Kunsan and Osan air bases in South Korea.
Brown is a command pilot with more than 2,900 flight hours, including 120 hours flying in combat. He has flown all versions of the F-16, as well as other aircraft, including the B-1B, B-2A, B-52H, C-130J, E-8C, HH-60G, KC-135, and MV-22.
During his time as AFCENT’s combined force air component commander, he oversaw the bombing campaign against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, as well as operations against insurgent groups in Afghanistan.
He previously served as deputy director for CENTCOM’s operations directorate, deputy commander for AFCENT, and director of operations, strategic deterrence and nuclear integration for U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.
Stephen Losey is the air warfare reporter for Defense News. He previously covered leadership and personnel issues at Air Force Times, and the Pentagon, special operations and air warfare at Military.com. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover U.S. Air Force operations.