First Out Gay Man Confirmed as Air Force Undersecretary

Eric Fanning, a gay man, has been confirmed to the second-highest civilian position in the U.S. Air Force.

The Senate confirmed Fanning as undersecretary of the Air Force late last month, in a voice vote approving nominees for several other positions as well. President Obama had nominated him as undersecretary last August. His duties will include recruiting, organizing, supplying, and mobilizing the force.

β€œI very much look forward to becoming a part of the Air Force family,” Fanning said in his confirmation hearing. β€œIt 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.”

Fanning had been deputy undersecretary and deputy chief management officer for the Department of the Navy since July 2009. A Dartmouth College alum, he has extensive experience in government and business. When Bill Clinton was president, 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. In the private sector, he has worked with a think tank and a communications firm.

He also has a history of LGBT activism, serving on the board of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund from 2004 to 2007.

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