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Fanning Sworn In as Army Secretary

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Department of Defense
Thursday, May 19, 2016

Eric K. Fanning was sworn in May 18 as the 22nd secretary of the Army, 243 days after President Barack Obama nominated him for the position.

“It has been a long process to get here, one that I don't think even the writers from 'House of Cards' could have scripted if they tried,” said Fanning, the first openly gay service secretary.

Retired Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan, president and CEO of AUSA, said the association is “pleased an experienced national security expert like Eric K. Fanning has been sworn in as secretary of the Army, after a long confirmation delay.”

Sullivan noted that Fanning has already held senior management positions in the Navy and Air Force, and has served as chief of staff for Defense Secretary Ash Carter as well as the Army’s acting undersecretary and chief management officer.

“This experience in executive management at the top will come in handy as he works with the Army’s uniformed leaders on important decisions related to current and future resource allocations, policies and strategy,” Sullivan said. “With all elements of the Army—Regular, Guard and Reserve—under stress, we hope to work closely with Secretary Fanning on strengthening what we have, rebuilding what is lacking and continuing the U.S. Army’s vital role in our nation’s security.”

Carter also praised Fanning’s ascendance to the Army’s top civilian position. “Eric is one of our country's most knowledgeable, dedicated and experienced defense officials and I am confident he will make an exceptional secretary,” Carter said in a statement. “Eric's experienced leadership will be an invaluable asset to the Army at this important moment. I appreciate his willingness to serve and his continued commitment to our men and women in uniform."

The swearing-in took place just one day after the Senate confirmed his nomination when Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) dropped a hold he had placed on Fanning’s nomination last fall.

The hold was not about Fanning’s qualifications, but rather about a dispute with the White House over potential movement of detainees from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the Army prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., or other facilities in the U.S.