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​President Obama has tapped Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti to replace Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove as the next commander of US European Command and Supreme Allied Commander in Europe. Pending Senate confirmation, Scaparrotti, who currently leads US Forces Korea, would take over during a time of escalating tensions between NATO and Russia, but Defense Secretary Ash Carter said he has “proven [his] leadership over the course of several difficult assignments.” Scaparrotti previously commanded ISAF Joint Command from 2011 to 2012 when there were more than 140,000 NATO troops in Afghanistan and he also served as director of the Joint Staff at the Pentagon. Carter called Scaparrotti a “soldier-statesman” and said his current assignment has helped him hone “skills he will need as he works closely with our most trusted allies and partners in Europe.” Carter also said Scaparrotti is “one of the US military’s most accomplished officers and combat leaders” and he urged the Senate to act quickly on his nomination. The North Atlantic Council on Friday approved Scaparrotti’s nomination to serve as the next SACEUR, according to a NATO statement. Carter also thanked Breedlove for his service. “Whether in the cockpit of an F-16 or commanding the military efforts of NATO, General Breedlove has proven his absolute dedication to the security of our people and nation,” said Carter. “On behalf of the Department of Defense, I want to extend my sincere appreciation for his nearly four decades of selfless service to our country. (Carter statement.)