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Marine General Expected To Be Next Commander In Afghanistan

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is expected to announce during a meeting of NATO defense leaders in Brussels Wednesday that Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford will be nominated to succeed Gen. John Allen as the top commander in Afghanistan, according to a defense official familiar with the decision.

Dunford is now the assistant commandant of the Marine Corps and the Senate would have to approve his nomination. Allen, also a Marine, is expected to become the next head of the U.S. European Command in early 2013, replacing the retiring Adm. James Stavridis.

Dunford earned the nickname "Fighting Joe" while leading a Marine regiment during the invasion of Iraq, though he has no experience in Afghanistan.

(Tom Bowman covers the Pentagon for NPR.)

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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