Senate approves first openly gay leader of a U.S. military service

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Eric Fanning (Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — The Senate has confirmed the long-stalled nomination of Eric Fanning to be Army secretary, making him the first openly gay leader of a U.S. military service.

The voice vote approval on Tuesday came after Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts dropped his opposition to Fanning in a dispute over Obama administration efforts to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and transfer detainees to the U.S.

Roberts said he received assurances from the administration in private discussions that the clock has run out on moving detainees to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Fanning served as the Army secretary’s principal adviser on management and operation of the service. He was undersecretary of the Air Force from April 2013 to February 2015, and for half a year was the acting secretary of the Air Force.

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