WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Barack Obama nominated Navy Adm. James Stavridis to serve as NATO's supreme allied commander for Europe and as commander U.S. European Command, Pentagon officials said May 12.
The dual command is responsible for the overall charge of NATO military operations, which includes identifying and requesting forces from NATO countries for wartime needs and peacetime joint training exercises. The alliance includes 42 member countries and 22 partner countries.
The appointment has no set length; the position previously has been held for as little as one year and for as long as eight. Supreme Headquarters Allied Power Europe has its headquarters at Casteau, north of Mons, Belgium.
Pending U.S. Senate confirmation, Stavridis will succeed Army Gen. Bantz J. Craddock, who assumed the commands in December 2006. NATO's Defense Planning Committee already has agreed to Obama's request to relieve Craddock and appoint Stavridis, according to a statement released by NATO today.
Stavridis currently commands U.S. Southern Command which overseas U.S. military operations in more than 30 Central and South American countries from headquarters in Miami. He took command there in October 2006 from Craddock as well. Stavridis' replacement has yet to be identified.
Pentagon officials said the switch may take place as early as this summer, and that Craddock is likely to retire after nearly 40 years of military service.