Can a transgender Navy chief be far behind? Eric Fanning, formerly one of Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s closest advisers, has been nominated to be the next Army secretary, the White House announced.
Army Times Fanning has been serving as the acting under secretary of the Army since June. Before that, he served as Carter’s chief of staff. If confirmed by the Senate, Fanning will succeed Army Secretary John McHugh, who has said he will leave the post by Nov. 1 after six years on the job.
In addition to his long resume, Fanning would also mark a milestone if he does become the Army secretary, as the first openly gay secretary of a military branch.
Fanning’s nomination comes during a critical transition period for the Army, which has not only seen massive key leadership changes (as Obama has fired all the best officers who dared to stand up to him) at the top but also continues to struggle with increasingly tight budgets and growing demands for troops all around the world. (How about sending a battalion of openly gay soldiers to the Middle East?)
With the looming threat of even deeper cuts beginning Oct. 1 as a backdrop, the Army has already cut 80,000 soldiers from its active-duty force. Another 40,000 must go by the end of fiscal year 2018 for an eventual end-strength of 450,000. In fiscal 2016, which starts Oct. 1, the Army could be forced to cut an additional 30,000 soldiers.