President Obama just ensured the Navy will no longer hold a monopoly on jokes about “gay” servicemen.
Eric Fanning has been nominated by Obama to lead the Army. The decision opens the door for Fanning to be the first openly homosexual civilian secretary of one of the military services.
“Eric brings many years of proven experience and exceptional leadership to this new role,” Obama said in a statement, the Washington Post reported Friday. “I look forward to working with Eric to keep our Army the very best in the world.”
Fanning has served as acting undersecretary of the Army since June 2015. He was also acting Air Force secretary for a short time.
“He understands how the Pentagon works and how to get things done in the Pentagon,” said Rudy de Leon, who was deputy defense secretary in the Clinton administration, the Washington Post reported. “He knows what works and what doesn’t work.”
Obama’s move continues a trend of making the military more LGBT-friendly. The president signed legislation Dec. 22, 2010, to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which was then officially implemented by the services Sept. 20, 2011.
“I am committed to removing all of the barriers that would prevent Americans from serving their country and from rising to the highest level of responsibility that their talents and capabilities warrant,” Leon Panetta, then-defense secretary, said during a Pentagon news conference at the time.
The Obama administration also acted earlier this summer to allow transgender troops to openly serve.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced the decision July 13.
“We must ensure that everyone who’s able and willing to serve has the full and equal opportunity to do so, and we must treat all our people with the dignity and respect they deserve,” Carter said in a statement, Politico reported July 13. “Going forward, the Department of Defense must and will continue to improve how we do both. Our military’s future strength depends on it.”
The Pentagon is currently undertaking a six-month study into the implications of allowing transgender troops to openly serve.
Carter said every job will be open “except where objective, practical impediments are identified,” Politico reported.