U.S. forces in South Korea to get new leader

AFP-JIJI

A U.S. Army officer who served at the top echelon in the Afghanistan war and at the Pentagon has been picked to lead American forces in South Korea, officials said Friday.

Lt. Gen. Curtis “Mike” Scaparrotti, if confirmed by the Senate, will take over at a delicate moment after North Korea toned down weeks of bellicose rhetoric that saw tensions soar and U.S. forces reinforced in the region.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced at a news conference that President Barack Obama will nominate Scaparrotti to succeed Gen. James Thurman in South Korea.

Scaparrotti currently serves as the director of the Joint Staff, under the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, the military’s top officer.