The Obama administration's pick to be the next top American commander in Afghanistan says the security situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating.

Army Lt. Gen. John W. "Mick" Nicholson, Jr., says he will have a better sense of conditions within a few months if he is confirmed.

Nicholson is testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

If confirmed by the Senate, Nicholson would succeed Gen. John F. Campbell.

There are about 9,800 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Nicholson says he supports the decision to retain that number of troops.

At Campbell's urging, President Barack Obama decided last October to abandon his plan to reduce troop levels to near zero by the end of 2016. Instead he said they would shrink to 5,500 by the end of the year.