April 19, 2013 at 12:59 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
Senate confirms gay official as Air Force under secretary
Eric Fanning, Navy, gay news, Washington Blade

The Senate confimed Eric Fanning as Air Force under secretary (Photo public domain)

The U.S. Senate on Thursday confirmed a gay official to the second-highest civilian position within the Air Force.

Eric Fanning was confirmed as Air Force under secretary by voice vote as part of a group of other military nominees. President Obama nominated Fanning for the position on Aug. 1, 2012.

Prior to his confirmation, Fanning served starting in July 2009 as the deputy under secretary and deputy chief management officer for the Department of the Navy.

Fanning reflected on his previous role and said he looks forward to transitioning to work for the Air Force during his confirmation hearing before the Senate.

“I have been immensely proud to serve these last four years with the men and women of the Navy and Marine Corps, and if confirmed, I very much look forward to becoming a part of the Air Force family,” Fanning said. “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 volunteered.”

As part of senior leadership within the Air Force, Fanning is responsible for recruiting, organizing, supplying and mobilizing the service in addition to other duties.

According to his bio on the Navy website, Fanning has considerable experience working in military affairs. Before his tenure at the Navy, he worked for Business Executives for National Security, a think-tank in D.C., and worked at Robinson, Lerer & Montgomery, a strategic communications firm in New York City.

During the Clinton administration, Fanning was a research assistant with the House Armed Services Committee, a special assistant in the Immediate Office of the Secretary of Defense and associate director of political affairs at the White House. He’s a graduate of Dartmouth College.

In addition to his military career, Fanning has been involved in LGBT acvitism. He’s a former board member of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and served on the board of directors from 2004 to 2007.

Allyson Robinson, executive director of the LGBT military group OutServe-SLDN, praised the Senate in a statement for the confirmation of Fanning.

“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,” Robinson said. “We look forward to working with him to advance the cause of full military equality.”

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

  • This is great- congratulations to Eric.

  • And just think, in 1983 I was kicked out of the Air Force for going to a "straight bar" that was owned by a gay man in Waikiki. That was the "solid evidence" they had against me at the time. They labeled it a "gay bar" because the owner was gay. Congratulations to Mr. Fanning.

    • Please, anyone locally reading this, leave my parents out of it. They know nothing of my "real, closeted" life and don't want to know or they would have asked after all these years. You all know how things are in Chowan County and with all their "church friends". I know they love me but in many ways I am still an embarrassment and disappointment to them and have been dealing with that all my life. I moved back here because I saw their health was failing and was hoping I'd be a help to them. It seems lately I've only become another burden to them. They worry so much about what people are saying about me but they say they don't. I don't fit in around here and I sure as hell don't want to from what I've seen… LOL! Thanks…

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