The North Atlantic Council approved the nomination of General Curtis M. Scaparrotti, United States Army, to the post of Supreme Allied Commander Europe. General Scaparrotti is currently serving as Commander, United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command, United States Forces Korea. Upon completion of national confirmation processes, he will take up his appointment as successor to General Philip M. Breedlove, United States Air Force, at a change of command ceremony at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in Mons, Belgium, expected in the spring of 2016.
Curtis Michael Scaparrotti (“Scap”) (born March 5, 1956) is a four-star general in the United States Army, and is the current Commander of United Nations Command, R.O.K.-U.S. Combined Forces Command and U.S. Forces Korea and the designated 18th Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) of NATO Allied Command Operations. General Scaparrotti was announced as the next Supreme Allied Commander Europe and commander, United States European Command, with plans to succeed General Philip M. Breedlove in spring 2016.
Scaparrotti recently served as the Director of the Joint Staff. Prior to his tour with the Joint Staff, General Scaparrotti served as Commander, International Security Assistance Force Joint Command and Deputy Commander, U.S. Forces – Afghanistan, the Commanding General of I Corps and Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and the Commanding General of the 82nd Airborne Division.
In addition, Scaparrotti has served in key leadership positions at the tactical, operational, and strategic level of the United States military to include Director of Operations, United States Central Command and as the 69th Commandant of Cadets at the United States Military Academy. He has commanded forces during Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), Support Hope (Zaire/Rwanda), Joint Endeavour (Bosnia-Herzegovina), and Assured Response (Liberia).
His military education includes the Infantry Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, Command and General Staff College, and the United States Army War College. He holds a Master’s Degree in Administrative Education from the University of South Carolina.
The U.S. military presence has grown in Europe, with pre-positioned tanks, more rotational troops and forces maneuvering in larger numbers on NATO’s eastern edge. The challenge ahead will be to improve allies’ overall state of readiness.
Though NATO has taken steps to streamline the political process for speedier deployments, concerns persist about whether NATO could mobilize fast enough in a crisis with Russia. That will likely be a key focus of Scaparrotti’s tenure as EUCOM boss and NATO military chief. In that regard, Scaparotti can draw heavily from his experiences during his nearly three-year mission in Korea, a job that in many ways matches the one he will soon be stepping into.
As the SACEUR, Scaparrotti will need to navigate a complicated political environment, where the views of 28 allies, and their threat perceptions, can sometimes be at odds. In the Baltics and eastern Europe, anxiety remains high over a possible threat from Russia, whose actions in Ukraine have rattled countries once dominated by the old Soviet Union. Poland and the Baltic states have been particularly vocal about the need for a more robust NATO presence in the region, with frequent public demands for a permanent basing and force presence.