On May 17, on a voice vote, the United States Senate confirmed President Barack Obama’s nomination, Eric K. Fanning, to serve as Secretary of the Army.
Fanning is openly gay.
“Eric Fanning’s historic confirmation today as Secretary of the U.S. Army is a demonstration of the continued progress towards fairness and equality in our nation’s armed forces,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin, in a news release. “Eric Fanning has spent his career serving this nation with tireless dedication, skill and ability, and as secretary he will bring that same commitment to the men and women of the U.S. Army.”
Fanning has served in many roles in the Obama administration, Pentagon and Defense Department. His confirmation was a long time coming and shepherded through by U.S. Senator John McCain of Arizona. McCain, the Republican Party’s nomination for the U.S. Presidency in 2008, convinced U.S. Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas to lift his hold on Fanning’s nomination.
“He will be a tremendous leader as Army secretary and will do great by our soldiers at Fort Levenworth and Fort Riley,” Roberts told the Army Times. “I look forward to voting for Mr. Fanning, who has always had my support for this position.”
Scott Herman, a U.S. Army combat veteran from Broward County, welcomed the confirmation.
“He (Fanning) may not have served in uniformed which was a major concern on the surface,” Herman told SFGN. “However, his background which includes DOD postings show on paper he is justified in being confirmed.
”Fanning was nominated by President Obama in September of 2015 and his confirmation was held by Roberts who had concerns of over transfers of detainees at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba prison.
The Human Rights Campaign is declaring Fanning’s confirmation to be historic. HRC notes Fanning is the first openly gay leader of a U.S. military service and the highest ranking openly LGBT appointed official to be confirmed by the Senate.
Prior to going to work for the Army, Fanning served as undersecretary for the U.S. Air Force from April 2013 to February of 2015. Chief among his duties for the Air Force was overseeing a $110 billion budget.
“Honored by today’s Senate vote and confirmation as 22nd Secretary of @USArmy. Let’s get to work And #BeatNavy!,” Fanning tweeted on Tuesday.
Fanning is a graduate of Dartmouth College. From 1997 to 1998, he worked national and foreign desk assignments for CBS National News in New York.