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U.S. General Breedlove eyed for top NATO job after Allen withdraws
February 21, 2013 / 7:32 PM / in 5 years

U.S. General Breedlove eyed for top NATO job after Allen withdraws

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A top U.S. Air Force commander, General Philip Breedlove, has emerged as the leading contender to become NATO’s supreme allied commander after Marine General John Allen withdrew his name from consideration this week, a NATO official told Reuters on Thursday.

Workers get ready U.S. flags and podiums before a joint news conference by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta (both not pictured) at the NATO headquarters in Brussels April 18, 2012. REUTERS/Jacquelyn Martin/Pool

Allen, who was caught up but later cleared in the scandal that forced CIA chief David Petraeus to resign last year, commanded U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan until February 10 and had been President Barack Obama’s nominee for the U.S. military’s top job in Europe.

But on Tuesday, Allen announced his intention to retire, citing his wife’s health.

It is unclear when Obama will announce a new nominee.

Breedlove is currently the commander of U.S. Air Force units in Europe and Africa and a former vice chief of staff of the Air Force. During his long military career, he commanded a fighter squadron, an operations group and three fighter wings.

A biography on the Air Force’s website describes Breedlove as a command pilot with 3,500 flying hours, primarily in the F-16 fighter jet.

Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by David Brunnstrom

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