Meet the New Openly Gay Under Secretary of the U.S. Air Force, Eric Fanning

Air Force Week kicks off in New York CityOn April 18, Eric Fanning was confirmed by the Senate as the new under secretary of the United States Air Force, the second highest civilian position in the USAF. Fanning was nominated by President Obama in August of last year and is currently the deputy under secretary of the Navy.

“I have been immensely proud to serve these last four years with the men and women of the Navy and the Marine Corps. I very much look forward to becoming part of the Air Force family,” Fanning said during his confirmation hearing. “It would be my honor to play a role in making sure that the best men and women our country has to offer get all the support they need in undertaking the mission of defending our country, a mission for which they freely volunteer.”

As Air Force Under Secretary, Fanning will be responsible for organizing, training, equipping and providing for the welfare of the Air Force’s more than 333,000 active duty men and women, 178,000 Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve members and 182,000 civilians, as well as their families.

Fanning is one of the over 250 openly LGBT appointees to the Obama administration, more than all known LGBT appointments of other presidential administrations combined, according to the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund.

“This appointment is yet another example of this Administration’s commitment to affirming the contributions and service of the LGBT community and underscores the new reality of open gay and lesbian service in our ranks,” said OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson in a statement. “We look forward to working with him to advance the cause of full military equality.”

Obama must now officially appoint Fanning, who will then be sworn into the position later this month.

Photo: USAF/ Scott M. Ash; USAF graphic, Robin Meredith