President Barack Obama's choice to be the next U.S. commander for the Middle East says he supports moving forward with a revised effort to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels battling Islamic State militants.

During congressional testimony Wednesday, Army Gen. Joseph Votel says it is good to have fighters who are trained by the United States and connected to American firepower.

The Obama administration last year scrapped a $500 million train and equip program for Syrian rebels after falling significantly short of the goal to train 5,000 fighters.

If confirmed, Votel would take over leadership of Central Command, which oversees military operations in Iraq and Syria against the Islamic State group.