The new Secretary of the US Army, Eric Fanning, has become the first openly gay leader of any US military service.
Fanning was nominated to the position by President Barack Obama in September. On Wednesday, Fanning, 47, was finally sworn into the post after being confirmed by the Senate.
He worked as a Congressional staffer and consultant before joining the US Department of Defence, where he has held Army, Navy, and Air Force positions.
His historic appointment to the country’s largest military branch comes almost five years since the US repealed its “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy banning openly gay service members.
Fanning’s confirmation also comes as the military is preparing to move forward to lift the ban on transgender service in the military.
“Eric Fanning’s historic confirmation today as Secretary of the US Army is a demonstration of the continued progress towards fairness and equality in our nation’s armed forces,” said Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Chad Griffin.
“Eric Fanning has spent his career serving this nation with tireless dedication, skill and ability, and as secretary he will bring that same commitment to the men and women of the US Army.”