AP Source: Air Force general is likely choice to be nominated for top NATO job in Europe

A senior NATO official says Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, the top U.S. Air Force commander in Europe, is the likely choice to become commander of all U.S. and NATO forces in Europe.

The official spoke Thursday on condition of anonymity in order to discuss internal deliberations.

The job opened up this week when President Barack Obama's first choice, Marine Gen. John Allen, announced he would retire after 19 months commanding allied forces in Afghanistan in order to attend to his wife's health issues.

If nominated and confirmed by the Senate, Breedlove would be the first Air Force general to hold the top NATO job since Joseph Ralston in 2000 to 2003. Breedlove would succeed Navy Adm. James Stavridis.