Obama announces choice for Secretary of the Army

Eric Fanning
Eric Fanning, undersecretary of the Army

President Obama has announced his choice of candidate to replace the outgoing Secretary of the Army.

If confirmed, Eric Fanning, a long-serving civilian with the Department of Defense, would replace Secretary of the Army John McHugh, who is set to step down in November.

“Eric brings many years of proven experience and exceptional leadership to this new role,” Obama said Sept. 18 in a written statement.  “I am grateful for his commitment to our men and women in uniform, and I am confident he will help lead America’s soldiers with distinction. I look forward to working with Eric to keep our Army the very best in the world.”

Fanning has served as a deputy undersecretary of the Navy, the acting secretary of the Air Force, the chief of staff to the Defense secretary and is currently the undersecretary of the Army.

The nomination must be confirmed by the Senate, and if it approves the president’s choice, Fanning would become the country’s first openly gay leader of one of the military branches.

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter called Obama’s nomination an “excellent choice” and expressed his hope for a quick confirmation.

“Eric served as my first chief of staff at the Pentagon, and it has been a privilege over the course of my career to work alongside him and watch him develop into one of our country’s most knowledgeable, dedicated, and experienced public servants,” Carter said. “I know he will strengthen our Army, build on its best traditions, and prepare our ground forces to confront a new generation of challenges.”

McHugh announced in June that he would be stepping down. He’s served since the start of the Obama administration.

The administration announced six other nominations on Sept. 18. They are:

  • Ricardo A. Aguilera – Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Financial Management, Department of Defense
  • Janine Davidson — Under Secretary of the Navy, Department of Defense
  • Lisa S. Disbrow — Under Secretary of the Air Force, Department of Defense
  • Shoshana Lew — Chief Financial Officer, Department of Transportation
  • Jennifer M. O’Connor — General Counsel, Department of Defense
  • Ambassador Thomas A. Shannon — Under Secretary for Political Affairs, Department of State

This story is based in part on wire reports.