WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama nominated U.S. Army General Curtis Scaparrotti on Friday to become NATO’s top military commander, the Pentagon said, a key role as NATO builds up its posture in eastern Europe in a bid to deter Russia.
Scaparrotti, currently commander of U.S. forces in South Korea, would succeed U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove as NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe. His appointment requires U.S. Senate confirmation.
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in a statement on Friday that Scaparrotti’s previous postings coordinating U.S. and international forces had prepared him well for the NATO command.
“General Scaparrotti is one of the U.S. military’s most accomplished officers and combat leaders, and it is my hope that the Senate will act quickly on his nomination,” Carter said.
Breedlove has been an outspoken critic of Russian military moves during his tenure.
NATO, or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, said in a statement on Friday that it had approved Scaparrotti’s nomination.
Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jeffrey Benkoe