Eric Fanning Nominated By Obama, May Become First Openly Gay Military Chief

Eric Fanning, a 47-year-old officer at the Pentagon, has been nominated by President Obama to become Secretary of the Army. If he is approved for the position by Senate, Fanning will be the first openly gay man to be put in charge of a U.S. Military Service.

Fanning has had a strong career at the Pentagon thus far, most recently serving as an undersecretary and the assistant of Ashton Carter, the defense secretary. Eric was nominated by Obama after current Secretary of the Army, John McHugh, announced his upcoming retirement. Obama said in a recent statement that he sees Fanning as an exceptional and experienced leader, that he is “grateful for [Fanning’s] commitment to our men and women in uniform,” and “confident he will help lead America’s Soldiers with distinction.”

The Obama administration has already done a lot in support of equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender citizens, and this would be another groundbreaking step forward. Many gay rights activists and groups have shown their support and excitement over Obama’s nomination, but of course there are always going to be critics. Some of the nay-sayers are seeing this nomination as a publicity stunt or an attempt at political correctness more than anything else. They are insinuating that the government is not taking our military’s leadership seriously.

Either way, the Senate will make the final decision as to whether Eric Fanning becomes the new Secretary of the Army or not. It is expected that, if given the job, Fanning will be in favor of a more technologically advanced Army, and would be looking to slim down the amount of troops even more than they’ve been cut down recently.

Ashton Carter, who has worked closely with Fanning, said in a statement, “I know he will strengthen our Army, build on its best traditions, and prepare our ground forces to confront a new generation of challenges.”

[Image courtesy of Chip Somodevilla / Getty images]