With just a few weeks left in uniform, Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein is preparing to hand the reins to his successor, Gen. Charles “CQ” Brown, in what he hopes will be a “gold-star” transition.
In a “State of the Air Force” chat broadcast online Tuesday, Goldfein said that “there is no better officer to come in and run the Air Force” than Brown, who was previously commander of Pacific Air Forces and who Goldfein has known and worked with for decades. The chat was sponsored by Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.
Goldfein’s retirement ceremony, and Brown’s official appointment as the 22nd chief of staff of the Air Force, is scheduled for Aug. 6.
Goldfein said that Brown’s experience commanding in Europe has allowed him to get to know many of the air chiefs in the region.
“He probably has the most vast Rolodex of anyone who’s ever come into this position,” Goldfein said.
Goldfein also addressed the issue of race relations in the country, and in the Air Force, after the death of George Floyd and the protests that have followed. After Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Kaleth Wright, who is Black, in early June posted his thoughts on social media in a post that partially began, “I am George Floyd,” Goldfein quickly released a memo calling for the Air Force to confront its own problems with race.
“Something broke loose on the streets of America” after Floyd died during an encounter with police, Goldfein said. “A lot of pent up frustration and anger came forward.”
But Goldfein also hopes that something also “broke loose” in the Air Force, that will give the service the opportunity to make lasting changes to improve the diversity, inclusivity and fairness in the service.
At the order of Goldfein and other Air Force leaders, the service’s inspector general is starting to study how Black airmen are negatively affected by imbalances in the military justice system, and the development system for officers, enlisted airmen and civilians.
“Let’s not lose our momentum on this,” Goldfein said.
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.