Army Secretary Nominee Eric Fanning and the Military Culture
A large swath of news outlets and activist organizations have reported on the previously predicted nomination by President Obama of Eric Fanning to the role of Secretary of the Army. As each and every media report headlines, if confirmed, Fanning would be the first openly homosexual military Service Secretary (not counting his own stint as the acting Secretary of the Air Force in 2013).
With even some homosexual activists concerned that Fanning’s sexuality is leading the news, others have wondered aloud if Obama’s choice was an indication he was more focused on making an impact on military culture and life than promoting military effectiveness. From the Christian Science Monitor:
Obama critics framed Fanning’s nomination as evidence of a key flaw of the President’s military policy – focusing on identity sensitivities while military threats brew around the world, particularly from ISIS.
“Hopefully [Fanning’s nomination] will distract people from the fact that we’re losing the war,” wrote University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynolds on his conservative InstaPundit blog.
The emphasis on style seems to be furthered by an “anonymous administration official”, who focused on sexuality in the military culture in describing the motivation behind the nomination:
His appointment demonstrates that Mr. Obama and Mr. Carter want to keep pushing the military toward more openness toward gay men and lesbians, an administration official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to speak freely.
CNN even went so far as to say the nomination of Fanning was explicitly a step
the Obama administration has taken to advance the rights of the LGBT community in the armed forces…
GOP Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee’s campaign outright said the nomination was for the purpose of “appeasing America’s homosexuals.”
Somewhat ironically, sexuality seemed to be far from the minds of congressmen notified of the nomination who were “far more worried about the state of the Army.”
Fanning has bounced around the top tier of the Defense Department for the past few years, including short stints in Air Force leadership and as Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter’s chief of staff. Regrettably, most media reports say very little about his actual credentials, save vague references to “work on military policy.” The LA Times did actually discuss his career, summarizing it at one point as “a series of high-profile posts at the Pentagon after a career in public service and TV journalism.”
Not only, as some have said, do sexual rights supersede religious rights, but it seems sexuality also supersedes ability when it comes to reporting on the man nominated to lead the US Army.