The US Senate unanimously backed President Barack Obama’s nomination of Eric Fanning as secretary of the Army on Tuesday, making him the first openly gay leader of a US military service branch.
The confirmation shows just how far gay rights have come in the military under the Obama administration. In 2011, the military officially dismantled its anti-gay “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Five years later, not only can gay soldiers serve openly in the military, but an openly gay person can lead a major military service.
Fanning previously served as the Army secretary’s principal adviser on management and operation. He was undersecretary of the Air Force from April 2013 to February 2015, and for half a year he was the acting secretary of the Air Force.