Acting Army Secretary Steps Down

Eric Fanning has yet to be confirmed by the Senate after September nomination

Eric Fanning
Eric Fanning
January 11, 2016

The acting Army secretary is stepping down from his post until he is able to win confirmation from the Senate, the Pentagon said on Monday.

Eric Fanning was nominated for the position of Army secretary last September, but the Senate has yet to take up his nomination. He then assumed the role of acting Army secretary in November.

Peter Cook, Pentagon press secretary, said in a statement:

In conversations relating to Fanning's confirmation, members of the Senate Armed Services Committee expressed some concerns about his designation as Acting Army Secretary pursuant to the Vacancies Act. While the Administration believes the designation of Fanning as Acting Secretary of the Army is consistent with the Vacancies Act, as a show of comity to address these concerns, Fanning has agreed to step out of his acting role to focus on achieving confirmation in the near future. In the interim, newly sworn-in Under Secretary of the Army Patrick Murphy will serve as Acting Secretary.

We expect this move to be of a short duration and for Fanning to achieve speedy confirmation. He remains one of the most qualified nominees to be a Service Secretary, having served in many senior executive positions in each of the three military departments and as Chief of Staff of the Department.

The Associated Press noted in a report that senators have blocked Fanning’s nomination to oppose the Obama administration on additional issues, including the president’s goal of closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility:

Fanning is expected to step down and move into another Pentagon post for now, but would return to the Army leadership position if his nomination is approved.

Fanning was nominated by President Barack Obama last September and would be the nation’s first openly gay leader of a military service.

Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., placed a hold on Fanning’s nomination in protest over Obama’s campaign to close the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility and transfer detainees to the United States.

Published under: Army