President Barack Obama has nominated
Eric K. Fanning to be secretary of the Army.
If approved by the Senate, Fanning
would become the first openly gay secretary of a military branch.
Fanning currently serves as the acting
under secretary of the Army. He's previously served as Air Force
under secretary, deputy under secretary of the Navy and deputy chief
management officer of the Navy.
The nomination reflects a major shift
for the Pentagon, which only four years ago dropped its “Don't Ask,
Don't Tell” policy that prohibited openly gay troops from serving
in the military. As a civilian leader, the policy did not extend to
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBT rights group, called Fanning “the perfect
choice to lead the world's best-trained, most dedicated and
Fanning's career in public service has
included stints at the White House, the Office of the Secretary of
Defense and the House Armed Services Committee. He's also a former
board member of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, which works to
elect openly LGBT candidates.