President Barack Obama today nominated Allen to serve as NATO's supreme allied commander for Europe and commander of U.S. European Command, succeeding Navy Adm. James G. Stavridis, who's scheduled to retire.
Dempsey also praised Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the president's choice to succeed Allen as ISAF commander. Dunford currently serves as assistant Marine Corps commandant.
Dempsey's statement reads as follows:
"General John Allen took command in the summer of 2011 as we were arresting and reversing insurgent momentum in key areas throughout the country. He immediately strengthened areas of success, taking them to new levels, while identifying elements of the campaign that required revision. More important, Gen. Allen added his leadership and moral courage to a fight that is as much about will as it is about operations and tactics.
"Beyond revising the campaign plan and flawlessly executing a two-part surge recovery, John Allen's command tour has produced several key milestones, including the remarkable growth and development of the ANSF, transition in areas comprising nearly 80 percent of the Afghan population and the signing of the U.S.-Afghan strategic framework agreement. Through it all, Gen. Allen's vision has helped maintain coalition cohesion and bolstered NATO's long-term commitment to Afghanistan and the region.
"But, as John himself would tell you, much work remains to be done. Significant security, governance, and development challenges remain even as new challenges and threats emerge. That's why we have once again have turned to one of our best.
"Like Gen. Allen, Gen. Joe Dunford is one of the most experienced and capable leaders in our military and nation. I have known Joe for 14 years and have had the privilege of working closely with him both in combat and resolving the larger security challenges facing the nation.
"Intelligent and forthright, Gen. Dunford is one of our most highly-regarded senior officers. He is an infantry officer with more than 35 years of exceptional leadership at every level, including multiple commands and, in particular, command of 5th Marine Regiment during the initial invasion of Iraq.
"Clearly, Joe has the right mix of personal and professional qualities. His military expertise and high character will guide the ISAF coalition through the next critical phase. I am fully confident he is the right leader to secure an effective transition between ISAF and the Afghan National Security Forces."