News Column

White House: Would-be NATO Commander Plans to Retire Instead

Feb 19, 2013

The U.S. general who had been tapped by President Barack Obama to be the next supreme allied commander of NATO has instead withdrawn his candidacy and will retire from the military, the White House said Tuesday.

General John Allen had been tapped last year to lead the post. However, his candidacy had been delayed for weeks during an investigation of possible misconduct in a sex scandal that took down former CIA director David Petraeus.

The Pentagon last month cleared Allen of suspicion. The White House, at that point, had said his nomination for supreme NATO commander would proceed.

But reports last week said Allen was considering withdrawing his candidacy to spare his family questions about the affair during public confirmation hearings before the Senate, which often pry into every corner of a person's career.

"Today, I met with General John Allen and accepted his request to retire from the military so that he can address health issues within his family," Obama said in a statement.

He praised Allen for his service as commander of international forces in Afghanistan over the past 19 months.

"John Allen is one of America's finest military leaders, a true patriot, and a man I have come to respect greatly," Obama said. "I wish him and his family the very best as they begin this new chapter, and we will carry forward the extraordinary work that General Allen led in Afghanistan."

Allen, who authored the US troop surge, handed over his command of NATO-led forces in Afghanistan to US Marine General Joseph Dunford earlier this month.

Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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