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U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says President Barack Obama has nominated Air Force General Philip Breedlove to be the next NATO supreme commander.

If confirmed, Breeedlove, who is 57, would succeed U.S. Admiral John Stavridis, who had taken over the command of NATO's military headquarters -- based in the Belgian town of Mons -- in 2009.

The post had been supposed to go to U.S. Marine General John Allen, but he retired last month following a sex scandal that took down former CIA director David Petraeus.

The Pentagon had cleared Allen of suspicion, but reports said he chose to end his candidacy to spare his family public questioning about the investigation during Senate confirmation hearings.

Traditionally, NATO's top military post is filled by an American, while the most senior political position goes to a European.
Based on reporting by dpa and AP
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