Openly Gay Army Acting Secretary Eric Fanning Steps Aside As Senate Drags Feet On His Confirmation

The Associated Press reports:

Acting Army Secretary Eric Fanning is stepping aside, at least temporarily, because Senate hasn’t confirmed his nomination, officials said Monday.

The Army’s undersecretary, Patrick Murphy, was confirmed last week, so he will oversee the Army. Fanning is expected to step down and move into another Pentagon post for now. He would return to the Army leadership position if his nomination is approved.

President Barack Obama nominated Fanning in September. If confirmed by the Senate, he would be the nation’s first openly gay leader of a military service.

In early November, Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., placed a hold on Fanning’s nomination as a protest over Obama’s ongoing campaign to close the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility and transfer detainees to the United States. The move was part of an effort to prevent the White House from taking executive action to close the facility.

The White House had hinted that the president might use his executive authority to shut it down and move the detainees to the U.S.

Fanning served as USAF Undersecretary from 2013 – 2015.