fanningEric Fanning, an openly gay man, was confirmed Thursday by the U.S. Senate as under secretary of the Air Force, the second-highest ranking civilian position.

Fanning was appointed by President Barack Obama last August, and previously served as Deputy Under Secretary and Deputy Chief Management Officer of the Department of the Navy.  He has deep experience both within the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill, where he worked on the House Armed Services Committee.

According to the U.S. Air Force Web site, the Under Secretary for the Air Force is responsible for “the organizing, training, equipping and providing for the welfare of…more than 333,000 active duty men and women, 178,000 Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve members, 182,000 civilians, and their families.”

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