Amid the US's attempts to back Ukraine's struggle against Russian invaders, a new commander for US military and NATO forces in Europe is cruising toward an easy approval by the Senate.
On Thursday, the Senate Armed Services Committee heard testimony from senators from both parties praising Gen. Christopher Cavoli's record as just what's needed during Europe's largest ground war since World War II. He is up for the job of US European Command and NATO's supreme allied commander.
After urging Cavoli to "brag a little bit" about his record on Russia, Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, said, "I would argue you are [Russian President] Vladimir Putin's worst nightmare and could not be more qualified than probably any other member of the military."
Cavoli has been the commanding general of the United States Army Europe and Africa since October 2020.
He also has a master's degree in Russian and Eastern European studies from Yale University, experience as a Russia director on the Joint Staff and a focus on Russia in the foreign area officer program.
Cavoli would replace Gen. Tod Wolters, who has led US European Command since May 2019.
Cavoli would take command of US forces in Europe, which have swollen to over 100,000 in response to Russia's three-month-old invasion of Ukraine.
Cavoli would also head NATO forces in his twin role as supreme allied commander when the alliance was dealing with the fallout from the Ukraine conflict. Sweden and Finland, in particular, have just formally asked to join the coalition, fearful of becoming Russia's next target.
Aside from the current issue in Ukraine, Cavoli would have to deal with the long-standing difficulty in persuading NATO nations to fulfill the objective of spending 2% of their GDP on defense, a goal set in 2014 that only eight of the thirty countries had met by 2021.
Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, several countries have declared intentions to increase defense spending. Still, certain Republican US senators, following former President Donald Trump's "America First" ideology, continue to worry that Europe is not doing enough to defend itself.