Obama to Nominate Air Force General for NATO Post
By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, March 28, 2013 The Air Force’s top commander in Europe is President Barack Obama’s choice to be NATO’s next supreme allied commander for Europe and commander of U.S. European Command.
During a news conference today with Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced the president’s intent to nominate Gen. Philip M. Breedlove to succeed Navy Adm. James G. Stavridis.
"He is an extraordinary leader, with the moral character to match," Dempsey said of Breedlove. "He is worthy of the confidence that he has already earned among our allies in Europe."
Hagel also praised Navy Adm. James G. Stavridis, who has served as the supreme allied commander for Europe and Eucom’s commander since 2009.
"Not only is [Breedlove] particularly well-qualified, but the job that Admiral Stavridis has done over there has been significant," Hagel said. “We need to get that position filled,” he added, noting that Stavridis' assignment already had been extended “a few times.”
The president originally nominated Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen, but an investigation put the nomination on hold. The investigation found no substantiation of misconduct allegations, but Allen later asked the president to allow him to retire to attend to family medical issues.
In a statement released after the news conference, Obama said Breedlove “has established trust and deep relations with our NATO allies and partners -- assets he will draw upon in taking on this important new role on behalf of the United States and the alliance.”
The president also praised Stavridis for the job he’s done in Europe.
“Admiral Stavridis has played an absolutely essential role in strengthening the NATO alliance to meet the challenges of the 21st century, to include enhancing our collective capabilities and partnerships,” Obama said. “I am grateful for his steadfast service on behalf of our country and NATO.”
In addition to serving as commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe, Breedlove commands U.S. Air Forces Africa and Air Component Command, and he serves as director of the Joint Airpower Competence Centre in Kalkar, Germany. Previously, he was the Air Force’s vice chief of staff. He is a command pilot with 3,500 flying hours, primarily in the F-16.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, a Master of Science degree in aeronautical technology from Arizona State University, and a master’s degree in national security studies from the National War College.
The general’s 35-year Air Force career has included numerous assignments in Europe. His nomination will be subject to Senate confirmation.