WASHINGTON  - The United States said Thursday it was nominating Air Force General Philip Breedlove as the new Nato Supreme Commander, filling the key position a month after top general John Allen stepped aside.

President Barack Obama “is nominating Air Force General Philip Breedlove to serve as the new commander of our European Command, Supreme Allied Command,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told reporters.

Hagel said he met with Breedlove and found him “particularly well-qualified.” Breedlove, who started his career in 1977 as a pilot, took over the command of US Air Force units in Europe and Africa in July last year.

Breedlove, whose nomination had been expected, would take over from Admiral James Stavridis, who has served as Supreme Commander since 2009.

The position is traditionally held by an American due to the dominant US role in the alliance.

Obama had earlier tapped Afghan war supremo General John Allen to take over Nato. But Obama last month accepted Allen’s withdrawal after the general said he would stand aside for family reasons.

Allen had been embroiled in a drama, but was cleared of any wrongdoing, over emails to a Florida socialite. The probe stemmed from a sex scandal that brought down his predecessor General David Petraeus as head of the CIA.