Obama to Nominate Eric Fanning for Army, Would Be 1st Openly Gay Service Chief

Eric Fanning has been nominated for Secretary of the Army.
Eric Fanning has been nominated for Secretary of the Army.USAF

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By Jim Miklaszewski and Courtney Kube

President Barack Obama on Friday announced that he will nominate of Eric Fanning to be the next Secretary of the Army.

Fanning is openly gay and very active in the LGBT community. He has been serving as acting undersecretary of the Army since June 2015.

If approved, he would be the first openly gay service secretary. He temporarily served as acting Secretary of the Air Force several years ago, before the current secretary was approved.

Eric Fanning has been nominated for Secretary of the Army.USAF

Fanning’s nomination is the latest in a series of steps the Obama administration has undertaken to support the rights of gays and lesbians. His administration has also pushed for greater transgender equality.

Obama's own views on the matter of same-sex marriage have evolved and he has pushed increasingly for issues of gay rights in his second term. The Pentagon lifted the "don't ask, don't tell" prohibition against openly gay men or women serving in the military two years ago.

Related: Landmark: Supreme Court Rules Same-Sex Marriage Legal Nationwide

Fanning has held senior level positions in the Air Force and Navy and, if confirmed by the Senate, would be charged with helping the Army rebuild dwindled ranks, budgetary strains and address suicides among soldiers who returned from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.