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.

“I very much look forward to becoming a part of the Air Force family,” Fanning said in his confirmation hearing. “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.”

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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