US General in Korea Nominated as Next NATO Supreme Commander

In this April 26, 2014 file photo, U.S. Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti speaks at the U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan, South Korea. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
In this April 26, 2014 file photo, U.S. Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti speaks at the U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan, South Korea. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

BRUSSELS — NATO's chief decision-making body said Friday it has approved the nomination of the U.S. Army general currently in charge of American forces in Korea to become the next supreme allied commander Europe, or SACEUR.

The North Atlantic Council said that subject to congressional approval, Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti is expected to succeed U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip M. Breedlove this spring as leader of all NATO military operations.

By tradition, the SACEUR is an American, and acts simultaneously as head of the U.S. European Command.

NATO said Scaparrotti is currently serving as commander, United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command, United States Forces Korea. A career infantry officer, he has served as commander, International Security Assistance Force Joint Command (Afghanistan) and deputy commander of U.S. forces in that country. He has also commanded forces during operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Congo, Rwanda, Bosnia and Liberia.

A 1978 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, he has also been commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division and commandant of cadets at West Point. As director of the Joint Staff, he assisted the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon.

Breedlove has been SACEUR since May 13, 2013, during a particularly challenging period in NATO's history when the American-led political and military alliance has had to retool itself to face a more assertive Russia and the threat of violent Islamic extremism. Those efforts are still ongoing. In a post on Twitter, Breedlove on Friday congratulated Scaparrotti on being nominated as the next SACEUR and called him "a superb match for today's security situation."

NATO said a change of command ceremony is planned at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe outside Mons, Belgium.

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