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Published On: Wed, Jun 10th, 2020

Senate confirms Air Force Gen Charles Brown as spy drones fly over China

The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Gen. Charles Q. Brown to be the next Air Force chief of staff, making him the first African American leader of a military service making Brown the second African American officer to sit on the Joint Chiefs of Staff since Chairman Gen. Colin Powell. Meanwhile, Air Force drones fly over China sea, read more below.

The 98-to-0 vote was a blowout approval for the four-star general. Vice President Mike Pence presided over the historic vote.

President Donald Trump, who nominated Brown in March, hailed the general on Twitter.

“My decision to appoint @usairforce General Charles Brown as the USA’s first-ever African American military service chief has now been approved by the Senate,” Trump said, though the tweet came before the confirmation vote. “A historic day for America! Excited to work even more closely with Gen. Brown, who is a Patriot and Great Leader!”

Air Force General Charles Q. Brown

The Air Force is now flying B-1B bombers and Global Hawk spy drones over the South China Sea and other areas within the Pacific theater as part of a broader strategy to sustain surveillance and deterrence missions in the region, following the increased U.S.-Chinese tensions.

The B-1Bs are flying out of Guam in support of Indo-Pacific Command and, according to an Air Force report, they are specifically conducting missions over the South China Sea. At the same time, the Air Force is rotating its Global Hawk drones to an Air Base in Japan called Yokota, a move which further bolsters a U.S. operational presence in the region.

One such technical program, engineered for greater airborne autonomy, is called Distributed Autonomy Responsive Control (DARC), and enables unmanned systems to better form “mesh” networks through air and ground nodes to perform a greater range of functions without needing to have each small move coordinated by a ground-based human decision-maker. The Northrop-made now-in-development DARC system seeks to distribute greater measures of autonomy into the aircraft itself. “Instead of flying it, you tell it what effect you want in an area,” Scott Winship, vice president, Northrop, told Warrior in an interview.

“Now our processing capability is so fast and we have so much storage that we are meeting that mission. Algorithms run fast enough so that if we watch our track, it will dump that data if nothing is happening. We only concentrate on the things we want to concentrate on,” Winship explained.

Author: Stephen Johnson (updated comment Brandon Jones)

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