The NATO alliance this week is getting a new supreme commander, a former top-ranking U.S. military officer in Korea hailed Tuesday by Defense Secretary Ash Carter as a proven warrior-diplomat and “a soldiers’ general.”
U.S. Army Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti was installed as head of U.S. European Command (EUCOM) at Stuttgart, Germany, and will become NATO’s supreme allied commander Europe following a separate ceremony Wednesday at alliance military headquarters in southern Belgium.
Scaparrotti, 60, will become the 18th U.S. officer to hold the post since Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower became the first NATO supreme commander in 1951.
The commander, by tradition an American general or admiral, is responsible for the overall direction and conduct of NATO’s global military operations. The 28-nation alliance is now confronted by simultaneous security challenges ranging from a resurgent Russia to armed Islamic extremism and a migrant crisis in the Mediterranean.