Confirmation hearing will proceed Thursday without Allen

Allen’s nomination was put on hold Tuesday by President Obama after the Pentagon said he was under investigation for potentially inappropriate communication with one of the women involved in the scandal that brought down CIA Director David Petraeus.

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A senior defense official said that the FBI turned over 20,000 to 30,000 pages of communication between Allen and Jill Kelley to the Pentagon, and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the Department of Defense inspector general would investigate.

Allen denies he did anything inappropriate, the defense official said, adding that Allen will remain in his post as Afghan commander during the investigation.

Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl LevinCarl Levin'Nuclear option' for Supreme Court nominees will damage Senate McCain's Supreme Court strategy leads to nuclear Senate The Fed and a return to banking simplicity MORE (D-Mich.) and ranking member John McCainJohn McCainA Cabinet position for Petraeus; disciplinary actions for Broadwell after affair Meet Trump’s ‘mad dog’ for the Pentagon Wrestling mogul McMahon could slam her way into Trump administration MORE (R-Ariz.) said in a statement Tuesday that the change of command in Europe is now expected to occur no earlier than March.

They said Dunford’s confirmation needs to be completed by the end of the year because of the uncertainties surrounding the schedule of the new Congress in January.

Dunford is supposed to take over for Allen in Afghanistan in February, the senators said.