By Lee Chi-dong
WASHINGTON, Aug. 2 (Yonhap) -- Army Lt. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti has been confirmed by the Senate to be the new chief of U.S. forces in South Korea, the Pentagon said Friday.
Scaparrotti, formerly deputy commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, will be promoted to the rank of general and replace Gen. James Thurman in September to lead the 28,500 troops on the peninsula.
In his confirmation hearing this week, he expressed support for the current plan for Washington to hand over wartime operational control (OPCON) of South Korean troops to Seoul as scheduled in 2015.
Once he assumes command of U.S. Forces Korea, he will be granted authority to lead South Korean troops in the event of war until the OPCON transfer.
South Korea's military recently proposed a delay in the OPCON transition, citing growing threats from nuclear-armed North Korea.
Scaparrotti served in Afghanistan as the commander of the International Security Assistance Force's Joint Command in Kabul from 2011 to 2012.
He has since worked as director of the Joint Staff, serving under Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.