White House: Marine General John Allen will retire, not take top NATO spot

Vince Coglianese Editorial Director
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The White House released a statement Tuesday afternoon announcing that Marine General John Allen will not be assuming the role of supreme allied commander in Europe and instead retiring to “address health issues within his family.”

President Obama’s statement:

“Today, I met with General John Allen and accepted his request to retire from the military so that he can address health issues within his family. I told General Allen that he has my deep, personal appreciation for his extraordinary service over the last 19 months in Afghanistan, as well as his decades of service in the United States Marine Corps. General Allen presided over the significant growth in the size and capability of Afghan National Security Forces, the further degradation of al Qaeda and their extremist allies, and the ongoing transition to Afghan security responsibility across the country. He worked tirelessly to strengthen our coalition through his leadership of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), and to improve our relations with the Afghan government. Above all, he cares deeply for the men and women in uniform who serve our nation – as well as their families – and I am grateful for the sacrifices made by his family in supporting him during his service. John Allen is one of America’s finest military leaders, a true patriot, and a man I have come to respect greatly. I wish him and his family the very best as they begin this new chapter, and we will carry forward the extraordinary work that General Allen led in Afghanistan.”

Fox News’s Ed Henry reported last week that a source told him that Allen wanted to avoid a confirmation battle and that the White House ultimately pushed him out:

The source told Fox that Allen was leery of getting into a confirmation battle that would dig into the embarrassing issue of his emails with Tampa socialite Jill Kelley, but the real reason was the White House power play. “He’s out,” the source said. “I know he is retiring. He was pushed out of the door.”

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Vince Coglianese