Brown’s First Message to the Force as Chairman: ‘Accelerate Change’ Lives On

Air Force Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. outlined his priorities for his term as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in a memo issued Oct. 2, highlighted by a familiar call for the U.S. military to continue to adapt.

In a Message to the Joint Force issued on his first business day after taking over from Army Gen. Mark A. Milley at midnight on Oct. 1, Brown reprised his signature motto from his time as Air Force Chief of Staff: “Accelerate Change or Lose.”

“Our nation needs us ready to fight today’s battles but also to prepare for tomorrow’s wars,” Brown wrote in his first official guidance as the 21st Chairman. “We must prepare by modernizing and aggressively leading with new concepts and approaches. Know that my conviction to ‘Accelerate Change’ has not wavered.”

Beyond the broad clarion call for change, Brown outlined three top goals as he begins his four-year term as the nation’s top military officer.

  • First, troops should hone their skills right now. “Deterrence depends on being your adversary’s worst nightmare in a fight,” said Brown, who wrapped up three years as the Air Force’s top officer upon becoming Chairman.
  • Second, the U.S. must continue emphasizing working together across the military and breaking down parochial service barriers. Troops should “focus on what is essential in Jointness—working seamlessly across domains,” Brown wrote.
  • Finally, the U.S. military should focus on partnering with other countries as it looks to meet the challenge posed by China while still dealing with a belligerent Russia waging war in Ukraine, as well as a myriad of other threats from North Korea, Iran, and militant groups such as ISIS.

“There is almost no challenge we will confront alone,” Brown wrote. “We must integrate our military power to deter and if called upon, fight and decisively prevail in war.”

Brown’s message echoes many of the same themes his predecessor Milley sought to leave as his legacy, including his goal to bring together modernization efforts. One notable change from Milley’s 2019 opening Message to the Joint Force: Milley did not address Guardians, as the Space Force was not created until later that year.

“As we step out together, you should know my broad expectation—that honing our warfighting skill has primacy in all we do,” Brown wrote.

Brown closed his message by highlighting the importance of service members, civilians, and their families who volunteer to serve their country.

“Through all, trust is the foundation of our profession,” Brown wrote. “Trust across the force, that we will do right by each other. The trust of our families, that we will care for them through trial and triumph. The trust of our nation and elected leaders, in our commitment to our oath and profession. As Chairman, I will strive every day to strengthen these bonds.”