Biden Picks New NATO Supreme Commander Army Gen. Christopher Cavoli, current commander of U.S. Army Europe, is expected to be named to lead the U.S. European Command. (David Hecker/Getty)
By Charlie McCarthy | Monday, 11 April 2022 02:07 PM
The Biden administration will name a commander of all U.S. and allied forces in Europe and a new general to lead Special Operation forces, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
The moves come a little more than six weeks after Russia began its unprovoked attack on Ukraine.
The expected announcements, U.S. officials told WSJ, will mark the biggest change to NATO military leadership since the Russia-Ukraine war started.
Army Gen. Christopher Cavoli, current commander of U.S. Army Europe, is expected to be named to lead the U.S. European Command, which is in charge of all U.S. military operations across the continent.
The head of U.S. European Command also serves as the Supreme Allied Commander Europe and is responsible for North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) operations there.
Gen. Cavoli would replace Air Force Tod Wolters this summer and is expected to serve for three years. Wolters’ term was extended by weeks as he has led allies in the response and deployment of weapons and equipment to the region.
WSJ reported that the nominations will come as the U.S. military shifts its focus from fighting insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan – as it has done much of the past 20 years — to more conventional military threats such as China and Russia.
The U.S. has deployed about 20,000 troops to Europe since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine. Those U.S. forces joined 80,000 already stationed on the continent.
President Joe Biden has said no U.S. troops would be deployed to Ukraine.
Another 40,000 NATO member troops deployed across Europe would be under Gen. Cavoli’s command.
NATO has deployed troops to Slovakia, Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania since Russia’s attack on Ukraine. That was done to bolster the alliance’s eastern flank.
Army Lt. Gen. Bryan Fenton is expected to lead U.S. Special Operations Command, Tampa, Fla., which oversees special operations around the world.
Fenton, current head of Joint Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, would replace Army Gen. Richard Clarke, who is due to retire.
Once formally nominated by the White House, Gens. Cavoli and Fenton must be confirmed by the Senate.