Breedlove tipped as new NATO military commander

The new NATO Supreme Commander could be US General Philip Breedlove, after former Afghan supremo John Allen dropped out of the running, a NATO official said Thursday.

Reports said earlier that Breedlove, currently in charge of US Air Force units in Europe and Africa, would move up to take over as Supreme Allied Commander in Europe (SACEUR).

"Yes, that is true," the official, who asked not to be named, said when asked about the reports, stressing that no decision had been taken.

The post is traditionally held by an American since the United States is the dominant power in the alliance. US Admiral James Stavridis has been in the position since 2009.

Breedlove, 54, took over command of US Airforce units in Europe and Africa in July last year.

He began his career with the airforce in 1977, learning to pilot F-16 fighter aircraft.

Earlier this week, US President Barack Obama said he had accepted Allen's decision not to take up the SACEUR post, after weeks of speculation over his future.

Allen said he would step aside for family reasons after a 19-month tour in Afghanistan.

He had been recently cleared of wrongdoing in a drama over emails to a Florida socialite, part of a scandal which brought down General David Petraeus as head of the CIA and his predecessor in Afghanistan.