IN Brief

Sen. Braun says he voted against military leader over ‘woke’ policy choices

By: - September 26, 2023 2:23 pm

U.S. Sen. Mike Braun, who's running to be governor of Indiana, voted against the confirmation of a high-ranking military leader. (From Braun's official Senate X account)

When the U.S. Senate last week voted to confirm the nation’s newest highest-ranking military officer, Sen. Mike Braun of Indiana wasn’t among Air Force Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr.’s supporters.

Instead, he was one of 11 votes against — at odds with Indiana’s senior senator, Todd Young and most of the rest of the chamber.

As chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a body composed of the U.S’s most senior military leaders, Brown will be the president’s principal military advisor. He replaces Army Gen. Mark A. Milley.

Braun said he disagreed with Brown’s policy priorities.

“We have to prioritize effectiveness over ideology in our military,” Braun said.

Brown — a career fighter pilot — joined the Air Force in 1984. Since then, he’s logged 130 hours of flying in combat, with 3,000 hours of flying experience broadly.

The Air Force chief of staff has overseen changes in how airmen are evaluated for performance awards: redacting race and gender-identifying language from the nomination packets, and diversifying the board reviewing the applications, according to Defense One. That’s among other changes.

The Air Force under Brown, who is Black, has also released two reviews on racial disparity. Brown himself led a monthly diversity and inclusion council, according to Defense One.

“I voted no on General Brown’s confirmation because he made woke policy initiatives the central part of his leadership while Air Force flight proficiency and safety standards diminished under his command,” Braun said.

Braun is also running for Indiana governor. He recently endorsed GOP Third District Congressman Jim Banks to take his seat.

Senators are taking votes on individual military leaders confirmations because of a separate hold Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama placed against en-masse votes over the summer.

More than 300 general and flag officers’ promotions are awaiting confirmations, and that could rise to 650 by the end of the year, according to Task and Purpose.


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Leslie Bonilla Muñiz
Leslie Bonilla Muñiz

Leslie covers state government for the Indiana Capital Chronicle with emphases on elections, infrastructure and transportation. She previously covered city-county government for the Indianapolis Business Journal. She has also reported on local, national and international news for the Chicago Tribune, Voice of America and more. She holds an undergraduate degree in journalism from Northwestern University.