NATO has a new supreme allied commander, the former top American general in Korea who has said the Western alliance must stand up to Russia and give Ukraine weapons to defend itself.

Army Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti took over Wednesday as the military leader responsible for the overall direction and conduct of NATO's global military operations.

The 60-year-old Ohio native succeeds U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, who handed over command during a ceremony at alliance military headquarters in southern Belgium.

Scaparrotti, a four-star general, previously served as commander of U.S. forces in Korea.

In his new job, he becomes NATO's 18th supreme commander, a position first held by Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower. Under alliance custom, the commander's job is held by a U.S. general or admiral.