WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force is set to have its first black service chief, Defense Department officials said Monday.

Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., known widely as C.Q., has been nominated as the next Air Force chief of staff, officials said.

If he is confirmed by the Senate, Brown will become the rare African American officer to sit on the elite Joint Chiefs of Staff. Previously, Colin Powell served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff while an Army general.

Brown, who is now the head of U.S. Pacific Air Forces, is one of only two African American four-star generals currently serving. He is a decorated fighter pilot with multiple combat tours in the Middle East, Asia and Europe.

He would succeed Gen. David L. Goldfein, who is expected to retire this year.

“The United States Air Force will be well served by the formidable talents of C.Q. Brown,” said Barbara Barrett, the Air Force secretary. “He has unmatched strategic vision and operational expertise. His leadership will be instrumental as the service continues to focus on the capabilities and talent we need to implement the National Defense Strategy.”

One of Brown’s first tasks will be getting the newly created Space Force up and running.

He graduated in 1984 from Texas Tech University with a degree in civil engineering. In 1994, he received a master’s degree in aeronautical science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida.