The Telegraph has reported that British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will "encourage" the White House endorse the current UK defense secretary, Ben Wallace, for NATO's top post.
Wallace, long seen as an anti-Russia hawk who has helped lead the charge in giving advanced weapons to Kiev while tightening the sanctions noose on Moscow, has expressed interest in serving as the alliance's secretary-general when Jens Stoltenberg's tenure is up by the end of September. A new secretary-general will be named and take office in October.
Earlier this year Stoltenberg's office put out a statement saying, "The secretary-general's term comes to an end in October of this year and he has no intention to seek another extension of his mandate."
The 63-year-old former Norwegian prime minister has been at the helm of NATO at its Brussels headquarters going all the way back to October 2014.
Concerning Wallace and his prospects, The Telegraph additionally reported Sunday that he had previously expressed interest in becoming NATO's next secretary-general, having said it would be a "fantastic" job.
The process whereby NATO's top chief is chosen is not exactly a democratic one involving a public vote; instead, the bloc's 31 members, which most recently includes Finland as the 31st, is chosen through "informal diplomatic consultations" among member states.
Starting in April there were strong rumors that the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen was the top candidate:
It’s the rumor inflating the Brussels bubble: The EU’s top executive, Ursula von der Leyen, could be crossing town to run NATO.
The rationale makes sense. She has a good working relationship with Washington. She is a former defense minister. And as European Commission president, she has experience working with most NATO heads of government. Plus, if chosen, she would become the alliance’s first-ever female leader.
Politico also said at the time that there is "a very short list" of names as candidates for the top job.
If the UK's Wallace is indeed a top candidate, it could signal NATO will take an even more muscular, escalatory approach with Russia amid the Ukraine war. Not only has Wallace overseen getting main battle tanks approved for Ukraine, but he's represented the kind of confrontational UK approach to Moscow which was set in motion under PM Boris Johnson's term during the opening months of the war.