Eric Fanning Hub

Secretary of Defense Appoints Out Gay Man As Chief Of Staff

Newly instated Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has appointed an openly gay man, Eric Fanning, as his chief of staff. Fanning currently serves as the Acting Secretary of the Air Force, a post he took over in April 2013. Fanning ascended to that job after first serving as Undersecretary of the Air ForceSDGLN reports:

6a00d8341c730253ef01901dbeec48970b-300wiPrior to his Air Force post, Fanning was Deputy Undersecretary of the Navy and deputy director of the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism, according to the Air Force Times.

Also, Fanning served on the board of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund from 2004 to 2007.

The American Military Partner Association (AMPA), which advocates for LGBT military families, hailed the appointment.

"We are thrilled to see Fanning's appointment because of his experience first and foremost," AMPA president Ashley Broadway-Mack said. "Knowing that he's an openly gay man in such an important role is a milestone and a sign of how far we've come, especially when only a few years ago LGB service members could not serve openly."

Defense News adds that Fanning "is widely regarded as an up and comer in defense circles" and is well regarded at the DOD:

Fanning "has had a terrific tenure in the Air Force," said Rebecca Grant, a former Air Force official and president of IRIS Research. "He's really been able to operate across the full range, including being involved in the difficult budget meetings in the Pentagon" over the past several years, she added.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel Addresses Pentagon LGBT Pride Event in Historic First: VIDEO


Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel addressed LGBT service members at the Pentagon's LGBT Pride event yesterday in the first appearance at such an event by a sitting Defense Secretary.

Said Hagel in his remarks:

Our nation has always benefited from the service of gay and lesbian soldiers, sailors, airmen, and coast guardsmen, and Marines. Now they can serve openly, with full honor, integrity and respect. This makes our military and our nation stronger, much stronger. The Department of Defense is very proud of its contributions to our nation's security. We're very proud of everything the gay and lesbian community have contributed and continue to contribute. With their service, we are moving closer to fulfilling the country's founding vision, that all of us are created equal.

It has never been easy to square the words of our forefathers with the stark realities of history. But what makes America unique, what gives us strength is our ability to correct our course. Over more than two centuries, our democracy has shown that while it is imperfect, it can change, and it can change for the better.

All of us should take pride in the role the U.S. military has played in this endeavor and continues to play. The military continues to fulfill this country's promise. Our commitment to equality requires us to continue building a culture of respect for every member of the military, our society, and for all human beings.

In his second inaugural address, President Obama reminded us that, quote, "While freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by his people here on Earth." Securing those freedoms has required generations of patriots to fight for their fellow citizens, and it has demanded courageous leaders be willing to stand up for what they believe.

Also speaking at the event, White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett, and Acting Secretary of the Air Force Eric Fanning, the highest-ranking openly gay civilian official at the Pentagon.

Said Fanning:

"It was hard to imagine we’d ever be where we are today, but during these 20 years, the military’s gone through the difficult process of opening itself up by providing opportunities to those for whom it was previously denied or constrained, to women, to immigrants looking to prove their loyalty to this country and earn their citizenship, to gays and lesbians."


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Obama Appoints Gay Man Under Secretary of the Air Force

President Obama has nominated Eric Fanning as the next Under Secretary of the Air Force, the Victory Fund reports:

FanningFanning, who currently serves as Deputy Under Secretary and Deputy Chief Management Officer of the Department of the Navy, has deep experience both within the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill, where he previously worked on the House Armed Services Committee.

According to the U.S. Air Force Web site, the Under Secretary for the Air Force is responsible for “the organizing, training, equipping and providing for the welfare of…more than 333,000 active duty men and women, 178,000 Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve members, 182,000 civilians, and their families.”  The under secretary serves as the Chief Management Officer of the Air Force, its senior energy official, and the focal point for space within Air Force Headquarters, according to the web site.

Said Obama of Fanning and four additional nominees: "It gives me great confidence that such dedicated and capable individuals have agreed to join this Administration to serve the American people. I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come."

Added Fanning: "I am honored by the President's announcement, and look forward to working with the Congress and continuing to serve the Department of Defense during the confirmation process."


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