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Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. testifies during a Senate Armed Services hearing on May 7. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

The Senate unanimously confirmed Gen. Charles "CQ" Brown Jr. as Air Force chief of staff in a historic vote presided over by Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Brown, the commander of Pacific Air Forces, is the first African American chief of a military service branch in U.S. history and will sit on the elite Joint Chiefs of Staff.

  • Gen. Colin Powell, an African American four-star general who served in multiple administrations, served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1989 to 1993.

The big picture: In the midst of mass upheaval over the killing of George Floyd and the treatment of black Americans by police, Brown reflected in a viral video message last week about his position as one of only two African American four-star generals currently serving in the U.S. military.

  • "Here’s what I’m thinking about: I’m thinking about how full I am with emotion — not just for George Floyd, but the many African Americans that have suffered the same fate as George Floyd.”
  • "I'm thinking about ... the equality expressed in our Declaration of Independence and the Constitution that I’ve sworn my adult life to support and defend. I’m thinking about a history of racial issues and my own experiences that didn’t always sing of liberty and equality.”
  • "I'm thinking about a history of racial issues and my own experiences that didn't always sing of liberty and equality. I'm thinking about living in two worlds, each with their own perspective and views."
  • "I’m thinking about wearing the same flight suit, with the same wings on my chest as my peers, and then being questioned by another military member: ‘Are you a pilot?’"

What's next: Brown will be tasked with getting the Space Force program up and running, the New York Times reports.

Go deeper

Ben Carson defends Trump against accusations of racism at RNC

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson defended President Trump against accusations of racism at the Republican National Convention on Thursday.

Why it matters: Carson, the only Black member of Trump's Cabinet, has become a loyal ally and defender of the president since running against him in the 2016 Republican primary.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
11 mins ago - Economy & Business

IPOs keep rolling despite stock market volatility

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Stock market volatility is supposed to be kryptonite for IPOs, causing issuers to hide out in their private market caves.

Yes, but: This is 2020, when nothing matters.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
49 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Higher education expands its climate push

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

New or expanded climate initiatives are popping up at several universities, a sign of the topic's rising prominence and recognition of the threats and opportunities it creates.

Why it matters: Climate and clean energy initiatives at colleges and universities are nothing new, but it shows expanded an campus focus as the effects of climate change are becoming increasingly apparent, and the world is nowhere near the steep emissions cuts that scientists say are needed to hold future warming in check.