Saturday, September 19, 2015



Obama to Nominate First Openly Gay Service Secretary to Lead the Army

By Greg Jaffe 

September 18, 2015


Openly gay Eric Fanning, 47, to lead the Army

President Obama, in a historic first for the Pentagon, has chosen to nominate Eric Fanning to lead the Army, a move that would make him the first openly gay civilian secretary of one of the military services.

Fanning, 47, has been a specialist on national security issues for more than two decades and has played a key role overseeing some of the Pentagon’s biggest shipbuilding and fighter jet programs. Now he will oversee an Army that has been battered by the longest stretch of continuous combat in U.S. history and is facing potentially severe budget cuts. It’s also an Army that after a long stretch of patrolling Iraqi and Afghan villages is searching for its postwar role in protecting the nation.
Fanning’s nomination, which must go to the Senate for confirmation, reflects a major shift for the Pentagon, which only four years ago prevented openly gay troops from serving in the military. The policy didn’t extend to civilian leaders, such as Fanning.
His long tenure in the Pentagon and his breadth of experience in shepherding some of the department’s most complex and sensitive weapons programs was a key factor in his nomination for the Army’s top job, administration officials said.
“Eric brings many years of proven experience and exceptional leadership to this new role,” Obama said in a statement.
Eric Fanning greets Col. Dan Dant, 460th Space Wing
commander at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo., in 2013.
(Senior Airman Marcy Glass/U.S. Air Force)

Eric Fanning visited several Air Force bases in 2013. At the time, Fanning was then acting secretary of the Air Force. 
Fanning’s rise to one of the Pentagon’s toughest and most prominent jobs also reflects the Obama’s commitment to diversity at the highest levels of his administration. During his time in office, Obama has overhauled internal policies to provide federal benefits to same-sex partners, appointed gay men and lesbians to the executive branch and the federal courts and ended the 18-year ban on gays serving openly in the military.

As Army secretary, Fanning will be teamed with Gen. Mark Milley, who took over in August as the Army’s top general, the chief of staff. The two men will assume responsibility for the Pentagon’s largest and most troubled service.
The Army, which swelled to about 570,000 active-duty troops during the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, has shed about 80,000 soldiers in recent years and plans to cut 40,000 more over the next few years. The planned cuts would shrink the service to its smallest size of the post-World War II era.
Battered by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army has had to deal with a spike in suicides as the wars drew to an end. Recently, the Army’s outgoing chief of staff, Gen. Ray Odierno, said that tight budgets and the ongoing strain of 14 years of war had badly degraded the Army’s readiness to fight and that only one-third of its brigades were prepared to deploy to a war zone, the lowest readiness rate in decades.
In a sign of how much the country has changed in the past decade, Fanning’s sexual orientation seemed a non-issue among Republicans and Democrats in Congress, who were far more worried about the state of the Army.
“There is a real crisis in morale and retention that has developed for the Army over the last several years,” said Joe Kasper, chief of staff to Rep. Duncan D. Hunter (R-Calif.). “The Army needs a leader who will stand up for soldiers, who recognizes war can get ugly and who won’t shy away from the tough issues. If Fanning is that type of person, he’ll be embraced.”
Fanning’s historic appointment didn’t seem to cause a stir in the Army, either.
LGBT issues are advancing by the day in the United States, and with it, there’s a growing class of Washington power players. Here are 21 of the most influential openly gay, lesbian and bisexual people working in the capital, part of a list as compiled by the National Journal. “My sense is that the Army is over this and has been over it for some time,” said Phil Carter, a veteran of the war in Iraq and senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. “The Army cares whether you can shoot straight, not whether you are straight.”
[Court says same-sex spouses are equal … but Congress disagrees.]
Fanning’s role as Army secretary would give him influence over the selection of the generation of generals who will rebuild the service after the wars. One big question for the Army is whether, in an era of tight budgets, it will return primarily to preparing for heavy combat missions against a big, conventional military, such as the Russians, or experiment with new formations that are better suited to training and working alongside indigenous partners.
“The biggest problem the Army faces is finding its mission, relevance and purpose after the Iraq and Afghanistan wars,” Carter said. “All of the services face it, but the Army faces it most acutely.”
Fanning has been a trusted ally of Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter, who tapped Fanning last year to oversee his transition team as he moved into the Pentagon’s top job. He also served briefly as acting Air Force secretary, a deputy undersecretary of the Navy and has been acting undersecretary of the Army since June 2015.
Fanning’s new boss in the Pentagon described him as “one of our country’s most knowledgeable, dedicated, and experienced public servants.”
Defense officials said that Fanning might be the only person in history to serve at senior levels in all three services. “He understands how the Pentagon works and how to get things done in the Pentagon,” said Rudy de Leon, who was deputy defense secretary in the Clinton administration. “He knows what works and what doesn’t work.”
Fanning’s knowledge of the costly and complicated world of weapons development is needed in the Army, which has struggled to field new combat systems in recent decades. Since 2000, the Army has been forced to cancel virtually all of its major new weapons programs because they ran over budget or didn’t perform as expected.
New battlefield equipment for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, such as special armored vehicles designed to resist blasts from roadside bombs, had to be developed outside of the Army’s traditional procurement channels.
The net result is that many of the Army’s most sophisticated helicopters, tanks and artillery were developed more than 30 years ago.
“The Army is still living off equipment from the Reagan years,” de Leon said. With ­budgets tight, Fanning’s challenge will be to upgrade and modernize the aging fleet using modern information technology.

Greg Jaffe covers the White House for The Washington Post, where he has been since March 2009.



56 comments:

  1. Obviously, Gayness is a key criterion for managing the Army...

    Here's footage of Fanning's former contributions to managing the US Navy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hate to say it, Thersites, but your views on this issue are hideously distorted and hopelessly out of date. I never seen a scintilla of evidence that you could be fair-mnded in the issue of homosexuality.

      I know you pride yourself in NOT being a "Christian," so it can't be that petulant little passage in Leviticus or the ravings of St. Paul during one of his bilious attacks that motivate you.

      If you had a bad experience as a child with a sexual predator, I'm very sorry, but that gives you no cause to judge every member of a significant segment of world society so harshly. That would be tantamount to condemning all males, because a percentage of them become rapists.

      Fanning seems like an all right guy. Been around in high places for a long time already. Doubt very much if he will embarrass the US by making speeches in gold platform high heels, black net stockings, and a sequined jockstrap while twirling a pink feather boa.

      Delete
    2. I must not be fair-minded because we disagree. I am extremely fair-minded on the subject. But I'm also correct about it... especially as it relates to the military.

      Delete
    3. From the article:

      "Fanning, 47, has been a specialist on national security issues for more than two decades and has played a key role overseeing some of the Pentagon’s biggest shipbuilding and fighter jet programs."

      Unless that's a provable lie, he sounds all right to me. Makes a very nice presentation of himself n the video above the headline too. Nice clean cut, well-spoken guy. I'd rather have him on board than some stinkin' Punk Rock Freak with with piercings all over his face, tattoos, and green and orange hair.

      Delete
    4. One thing I learned gives me a little pause for thought. He, apparently, favors free access to TRANSEXUALS in the military. I would draw the line at that, myself. The idea is frankly preposterous.

      Delete
    5. Overseeing shipbuilding and fighter fabrication from a civilian perpective has little to do with the US military. He's a member of the industrial complex, not the military. I have almost 1.6x as much "industrial" shipbuilding/ aerospace experience as the candidate on question.

      Delete
    6. Fanning’s knowledge of the costly and complicated world of weapons development is needed in the Army, which has struggled to field new combat systems in recent decades. Since 2000, the Army has been forced to cancel virtually all of its major new weapons programs

      Sounds like 3/4 of his career has been a failure to me.

      Delete
    7. The military is about fighting, not building tanks.

      Delete
    8. Then you want them to fight with bare hands?

      Virginia Herndon

      Delete
    9. Every swordsman a blacksmith, every rifleman a gunsmith, and every General a Quartermaster, eh Anon?

      Delete
  2. Altogether, between the 5 branches and reserves, we have well over 2,000,000 folks in the military. Ridiculous.

    JMJ

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't undertand your point, Jersey. The focus of this article is on having the first OPENLY GAY person un a very high CIVILIAN position of Command and Control of MILITARY affairs.

      God only knows how many CLOSETED gay men and bisexuals held prestigious positions in government before. I'm sure many more tan most have ever suspected.

      Homosexuality and bisexuality are not new. They've been with us since the beginning of Time, I'm sure. The difference between Then and Now, however, is no one used to TALK about these thins or make an ISSUE of them in public venues.

      Delete
    2. I couldn't possibly care less about this guys sexuality. I'm far more concerned with the ridiculous military empire.

      JMJ

      Delete
    3. Yes. The world would be so much better if the US disarmed!

      Delete

  3. I don't care if he is gay, but I do think that he should have some military background

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    Replies
    1. According to the article, he's already had twenty years experience dealing in vitally important military affairs. I care only if someone in a high position is COMPETENT and not just a stooge for nefarious unseen, unknown forces behind the scenes.

      MOST gay men are not drag queens, child molesters, or swishing sissies who spend all their free time acting like caricatures of bitchy women. And for that i thank God.

      Delete
    2. From the article:

      "Fanning, 47, has been a specialist on national security issues for more than two decades and has played a key role overseeing some of the Pentagon’s biggest shipbuilding and fighter jet programs."

      Delete
  4. Hi FT, I thought that you closed your blog up for good. I have to confess that I've thought of doing likewise but I just can't seem to turn the switch to "OFF". Obviously I don't even visit my own blog very often or I would have noticed this sooner. Good luck and do come around some of the Liberal blogs I just read a comment on Shaw's blog about you packing it in. And I was thinking I'd better stop by and say good/ bye. Yes, for better or worse, I hang out at Shaws blog a lot these day.
    I know that you two don't get along but what the hell, I am a liberal ya know! LOL and liberals hang out at Shaw's place.
    Stay well and please vote for Hillary, she's gonna need all the help that she can get.
    Best Regards ;
    Leslie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are you Ms. PARSLEY? If so, I remember you very well. I do wish people would READ entire posts before commenting. I did withdraw for a short while, but I made a point of saying I would be absent "Till Further Notice." ;-)

      I thought Miss Shaw and i were friends. I was honestly fond of her. We never 'told each other off" or anything like that. I did not drop Miss Shaw, it was SHE who dropped ME. I regret it, but I don't resent it.

      IF you read these pages carefully, as I hope all visitors will do, you would see that I usually delete any and all snide references to Miss Shaw, and have made i a strict rule NOT to get involved in Blog Feuds.

      I try not to "BAIT" people, and I do my best not to TAKE the bait, when dangled in front of me.

      At any rate, what do YOU think of Mr. Fanning's appointment?

      My position most days is "I REPORT, but YOU DECIDE."

      Please drop by again. I don't delete responsible disagreement, only idiocy, pointless denigration and sheer nastiness.

      Delete
  5. Mr. Fanning seems more than qualified for the position. Who he sleeps with is of no concern to me nor is it my business. Time will tell what he makes of the position.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He has an excellent record in twenty years of service. If you watch the video, I can't see how any decent, fair-minded person could not think well of him.

      Delete
  6. FYI: Eric Fanning is a graduate of Dartmouth College.

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  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  8. More of Obama's LGBT agenda.

    I surmise that there are several as qualified as Fanning and, possibly, some who are more qualified. But Fanning gets the job precisely because he is openly gay.

    My two cents.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The day when one's Gayness, Jewishness, Whiteness, Blackness, Brownness, Yellowness, Redness or Religious Affiliation is NOT taken into consideration at ALL when selecting candidates for employment may well be the day that brings in the Millennium.

      Whatever Obama's MOTIVES may be for making a determined point of this sort of thing, –– and I am highly suspicious and generally resentful of everything he does, as you well know ––, the RESULT is apt to be laudable, especially in this case.

      What rabid reactionaries, and militant "traditionalists" fail to acknowledge is that ALL minorities would STILL be despised, rejected, defamed, reviled, denied employment, denied access to good quality housing, and denied the opportunity to gain upward mobility were it not for political activism.

      THAT is the OTHER side of the coin. The side we'd prefer not to notice, but MUST examine and take into consideration if things are ever to be made right.

      On wonders how many homosexual men and women in the past have done commendable work commanding armies, holding high office,–– how many have done well in leadership positions in business, and done fine work as scientists, doctors, attorneys, accountants, pharmacists, teachers and college professors while no one ever knew they were in fact gay?

      Many entered into loveless marriages de convenance in order to throw the vicious bloodhounds off the scent and give themselves "cover."

      How fair was that to either of the spouses involved?

      Could it possibly be GOOD to expect someone to play the hypocrite to THAT high a degree for the sole purpose of surviving in his field of endeavor?

      I'm sorry to have to say it, but I get the distinct feeling that if it were up to you, my dear friend, Mr. Fanning would NEVER have even been CONSIDERED for ANY position at ALL. I see that as an implicit desire to punish him for his rare degree of honesty.

      Sorry, but I could never go along with that brand of thinking.

      Delete
    2. FT,
      the RESULT is apt to be laudable, especially in this case

      I don't know what I would do were it up to me. My hiring practices, scant as they have been, were to choose the best qualified and in accordance with the school's policy.

      As for what someone does for the sole purpose of surviving in his field of endeavor, the possibilities are legion and do not always relate to sexual orientation -- in fact, may often not relate to sexual orientation.

      As for the Millennium you mentioned, I don't think that it's going to happen the way you describe it. The wariness of the other seems to be innate, and I think all mammals may be hard wired to the point that the wariness cannot be completely expunged. Controlled, maybe. Maybe.

      But you're right that I don't approve of gay marriage. I've never stated otherwise.

      Delete
    3. I don't think the matter of Eric Fanning has anything to do with Homosexual Marriage, AOW. It's supposed to be about his fitness to do a particular job that has nothing to do with his sexual orientation.

      Do I favor the way Obama is USING this young man to further an AGENDA?

      I certainly do not, but that takes nothing away from the favorable opinion I have formed of the man, himself, from the evidence presented so far.

      MY concern about this has nothing to do with Gay Marriage. It has EVERYTHING to do with fairness, decency, objectivity and the eventual dissolution of PREJUDICE.

      Delete
    4. What an excellent summation of the situation, FT. Well done and very well said, indeed.

      Delete
    5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

      Delete
    6. stomp, snort, and gruntSeptember 20, 2015 at 10:42 PM

      What Walking Bull said.

      Delete
    7. FT,
      It's supposed to be about his fitness to do a particular job that has nothing to do with his sexual orientation.

      But he got the job precisely because of his sexual orientation, didn't he? At least, that the way the news coverage seems to go between the lines.

      He is openly gay, and I'm not quite sure what that nomenclature means in the case of Fanning.

      That he is an activist?

      That he is a person who has a predilection for public displays of affection?

      That he walks into rooms and announces, "Hey, everyone! I'm gay!"

      Delete
    8. Aha! Gotta love Google search!

      Fanning served on the board of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund from 2004 to 2007.

      The American Military Partner Association (AMPA), which advocates for LGBT military families, hailed the appointment.

      "We are thrilled to see Fanning's appointment because of his experience first and foremost," AMPA president Ashley Broadway-Mack said. "Knowing that he's an openly gay man in such an important role is a milestone and a sign of how far we've come, especially when only a few years ago LGB service members could not serve openly."

      Delete
    9. Well, bully for Fanning! I have to admire people who have the courage to stand up for themselves and their kind in a hostile environment, –– especially when they do it judiciously in an open, honest, respectable way.

      Once upon a time, and not so very long ago, landlords of better quality apartment houses steadfastly refused to rent to Italians and most other markedly "ethnic" types. When questioned they would say things like, "The family you know whom we rejected is very nice, of course, and seems quite acceptable on the surface, but don't you realize that once we let even ONE of these people in, their friends and relatives are bound to follow. After that it will only be a matter of months before everyone would have to put up with the smell of cooking in the halls. The whole building would stink of garlic. And then they are so LOUD whenever they get together. I'm sorry but we just can't have that here."

      I come from an Italian family on my mother's side –– as primly moral, hard-working, highly intelligent, fiercely ambitious, upwardly mobile a group as you could ever hope to meet, and yet this actually happened to one of my uncles who had risen through the ranks to become one of New York City's eminent physicians.

      My own mother was called horrible names and attacked on the way to Sunday School by members of a rival ethnic group when she was just a little girl. It was Easter, and my grandmother had made her and my cousin Ruth, who was just mother's age, a new outfit for the occasion. The street bullies pulled the new coats off their backs and ripped them to shreds before mother's big brother Bill could come to the rescue.

      All that ugliness simply because mother came from an ITALIAN family! That incident occurred NINETY-FIVE YEARS AGO, but the memory still hurts –– and it didn't even happen directly to me.

      Anyway, that –– and a few other things i could tell you, but won't –– is why I am so acutely sensitive to the horror and injustice of stupid, blind prejudice.

      First and foremost people are INDIVIDUALS. If they are to be judged at all –– something the Bible warns against –– they should be judged by the way the BEHAVE not by what ethnic group they belong to or what country their parents came from.

      The same principle should apply to gay people. Why should a perfectly clean, decent, accomplished person like Eric Fanning be made to suffer for the boisterous, uncouth antics of a few highly vocal, low-class, screaming queens in sequined jockstraps?

      Delete
    10. FT,
      I have similar family tales. They have little to do with ethnicity, but rather with biases toward particular regions (Appalachia) and professions (auto mechanics -- aka grease monkeys).

      I was regularly ridiculed because my mother came from Appalachia and my father was a grease monkey. But no activist groups to join for those.

      Look. I really don't care about the Fanning story one way or the other. But I do care that the time has arrived when being heterosexual will result in job discrimination. Certainly that development is not the moral high ground.

      I've always said that whoever is most qualified should be considered for the job -- within the employer's parameters, of course.

      For example, at the Christian school where I worked from 1978-1996, all applicants had to write out and sign their professions of faith. Those doing the hiring did not delve into anything else. Period. I suppose that the school would not have hired someone who was openly gay. The owners' prerogative, IMO. The matter never arose.

      I do know for a fact that I never saw any discrimination based on sexual orientation in the public school system where I worked (1973-1978) or in the various D.C. choirs to which I belonged back in the 1960s. There were openly gay members of those choirs and orchestras. No big deal and no snickering, either.

      I've heard that many in the military were dead set against the nullification of don't ask, don't tell. Not being a member of the military, I can't speak to that particular issue and leave it to others with a military background to address the matter.

      Delete
    11. I think it may be an extreme over-reactiin to assume that just because the door has finally been opened to give decent, presentable, qualified gay people a chance that necessarily means discrimanation is bound to occur against heterosexuals.

      I'll repeat what I said earlier, because, as a clearcut definition of an Ideal Objective for a truly decent society I think it deserves every possible emphasis:

      The day when one's Gayness, Jewishness, Whiteness, Blackness, Brownness, Yellowness, Redness or Religious Affiliation is NOT taken into consideration at ALL when selecting candidates for employment may well be the day that brings in the Millennium.

      Whatever Obama's MOTIVES may be for making a determined point of this sort of thing, –– and I am highly suspicious and generally resentful of everything he does, as you well know ––, the RESULT is apt to be laudable, especially in this case.

      What rabid reactionaries, and militant "traditionalists" fail to acknowledge is that ALL minorities would STILL be despised, rejected, defamed, reviled, denied employment, denied access to good quality housing, and denied the opportunity to gain upward mobility were it not for political activism.

      THAT is the OTHER side of the coin. The side we'd prefer not to notice, but MUST examine and take into consideration if things are ever to be made right.

      On wonders how many homosexual men and women in the past have done commendable work commanding armies, holding high office,–– how many have done well in leadership positions in business, and done fine work as scientists, doctors, attorneys, accountants, pharmacists, teachers and college professors while no one ever knew they were in fact gay?

      Many entered into loveless marriages de convenance in order to throw the vicious bloodhounds off the scent and give themselves "cover."

      How fair was that to either of the spouses involved?

      Could it possibly be GOOD to expect someone to play the hypocrite to THAT high a degree for the sole purpose of surviving in his field of endeavor?

      I'm sorry to have to say it, but I get the distinct feeling that if it were up to you, my dear friend, Mr. Fanning would NEVER have even been CONSIDERED for ANY position at ALL. I see that as an implicit desire to punish him for his rare degree of honesty.

      Sorry, but I could never go along with that brand of thinking.

      Delete
  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Next time you try to post your rabid, moronic boilerplate here, try looking at the VIDEO first, THEN read the article, THEN read the COMMENTS, and THEN make your comment.

      Thanks for your future cooperation.

      Delete
    2. The left has a proven track record of presenting a perfectly normal representative of the latest oppressed flavor of the day, everyone bows down, warm feelings all around, and then the flaming activists pour through the breach.

      Mark my words, young man!

      Delete
    3. Please read my last post above to AOW, General. I believe it applies equally well to your assertions.

      Delete
  10. Conchita QuackenbushSeptember 21, 2015 at 8:27 AM

    He's a snappy dresser! Those gay men are so stylish and well-groomed. What a wonderful representative of our US Army!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Conchita,
      He's a snappy dresser!

      Most people affiliated with the military (as well as people expert in the same fields as Fanning) are well groomed and good dressers. At least, that's been my experience here in the D.C. area, where we have hordes of such individuals.

      Delete
    2. So what is your point, Ms. Quackenbush?

      If you hope to get a good job,
      You need to dress like a slob.
      Good clothes will cause tongues to wag,
      And the boss suspect you're a fag.


      Is THAT the kind of thinking that motivated your remark, Ms. Quackenbush?

      Delete
    3. Mordecai Rappahannock Terwilliger said

      Very funny, FT.

      Delete
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    2. It's Turds all the way Down!September 21, 2015 at 3:41 PM

      This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

      Delete
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  14. Right Wing Loon Alarm!September 21, 2015 at 1:39 PM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  16. ____________________ N-O-T-I-C-E ____________________

    COMMENTS M-U-S-T RELATE to the TOPIC of the POST.

    IRRELEVANT REMARKS W-I-L-L BE DELETED as a MATTER OF POLICY.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Here's what I find interesting....

    Other than congratulatory information about Fanning -- first openly gay Army Secretary, and all that -- I have seen nothing about this matter. I subscribe to all sorts of newsletters, some of them Christian fundamentalist in orientation, and haven't seen anything about the fact that Fanning is openly gay.

    So, methinks that this matter hasn't caused much of a stir.

    Did I miss something condemning the choice of Fanning for this position?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That in itself is newsworthy, AOW.

      Either it show society has progressed to the point where it really does tolerate a phenomenon regarded as unthinkable - OR - it shows the high degree of apathy, insouciance, and blissful unawareness into which the public has fallen.

      If the latter, it is most regrettable. If the former, it may be a healthy sign.

      Delete
  18. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  19. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your remarks said nothing of what the Pope thinks of the appointment of Eric Fanning by Obama to a top spot in civilian army leadership. That is why your post has been deleted.

      Apparently, you like so many others who attempt to post irrelevant remarks here, are either incredibly rude, incredibly stupid or completely illiterate.

      Delete

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