Suddenly, History

Obama Has Just Nominated The First Openly Gay Service Secretary To Lead The Army

Eric FanningIn a history-making move, President Obama will nominate Eric Fanning to lead the Army, potentially making him the first openly gay civilian secretary of a military service.

The Washington Post reports that Fanning’s nomination is part of an increasing trend that finds The White House working to advance the rights of gays and lesbians in the federal government.

Related: Obama Nominates Eric Fanning, Openly Gay Man, As Under Secretary Of The Air Force

The move comes on the heels of the Obama administration providing health benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees, appointing gay men and women to the executive and federal bench, and ending an 18-year ban on gays serving openly in the military.

For over 25 years, Fanning has specialized on defense and national security issues in a career that spans over 25 years in Congress and the Pentagon. If confirmed by the Senate, he’d be working alongside Gen. Mark Milley — who became the Army’s top general last month — assuming responsibility for what The Washington Post calls “the Pentagon’s largest and most troubled service.”

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

In a statement, Obama said, “Eric brings many years of proven experience and exceptional leadership to this new role. I look forward to working with Eric to keep our Army the very best in the world.”

According to Rudy de Leon, deputy defense secretary during the Clinton administration, “He understands how the Pentagon works and how to get things done in the Pentagon. He knows what works and what doesn’t work. Eric is taking over at a critical time for the Army. The Army is still living off equipment from the Reagan years.”