Today the Senate confirmed Eric Fanning as the next Secretary of the Army. Fanning will be the first openly gay secretary of a military service.
Fanning was nominated to serve as Secretary of the Army by President Obama in September of last year and was later named Acting Secretary of the Army when Secretary McHugh retired, but stepped down while he awaited confirmation by the U.S. Senate.
"We are thrilled to see Eric Fanning finally confirmed as the next Secretary of the Army," stated American Military Partner Association President Ashley Broadway-Mack. "His leadership and experience within the defense community together with his sensitivity towards issues specifically facing our LGBT service members and their families make him the ideal candidate to lead our nation's Army. It has been a long, arduous road to his confirmation, and we look forward to working with him directly in the near future."
Fanning's confirmation had hit several major roadblocks, most recently delayed due to Senator Pat Roberts, Republican of Kansas, who entangled the nomination of Mr. Fanning with his insisting the Obama Administration offer assurances that Guantanamo would not be closed and detainees transferred to the States.
OutServe-SLDN congratulated Fanning on finally being confirmed as Secretary of the Army. Executive Director Matt Thorn has issued the following statement:
"Eight months ago our Commander-in-Chief, President Barack Obama nominated a man who has a resume that is accomplished even by Washington standards to be Secretary of the Army and we can finally and long overdue say congratulations to Eric Fanning on being confirmed as the 22nd Secretary of the Army.
"Eric Fanning's career is full of superlatives. Just reading Eric's resume one could only agree that he is more than qualified to be Secretary of the Army. In addition to his stellar qualifications, Eric will now become the first openly gay Army Secretary.
"Eric's sexual orientation has absolutely no bearing on his ability to do this job; nor was it the reason for his nomination. But this milestone of having an openly gay individual in this high level position within the Department of Defense will help to continue to set a tone of understanding and respect for the LGBT community throughout the armed services.
"Eric knows every military service, the bureaucracy of the Pentagon and Capitol Hill inside and out. And everyone Democrats and Republicans agrees that he will undoubtedly serve this post with honor, as he has done in all of his previous positions. As an individual who is deeply respected by both uniformed and civilian Department of Defense personnel we are thrilled that he has finally been confirmed.
"Eric is not the last stand for the LGBT military community but his confirmation is a significant one, a meaningful one. When a that young girl will see someone like her in charge of the Army that she wants to join, that says something, that evokes something.
"Finally, we applaud and our thankful to the Obama Administration for nominating Eric, sticking with him, fighting for his nomination and now will be able to swear him in as Secretary of the Army."