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Eric Fanning, Acting Air Force Secretary, Now Highest-Ranking Openly Gay Person In Defense Dept.

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After the Friday retirement of Air Force Secretary Michael Donley, Eric Fanning became the civilian head of the Air Force, making him the highest-ranking out LGBT person in the Department of Defense.

Fanning was confirmed as the undersecretary of the Air Force in April, and will serve as Acting Secretary until a replacement is nominated by Obama and confirmed by the Senate.

According to the Air Force Times, Fanning served as deputy under secretary of the Navy and deputy director of the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism before becoming under secretary of the Air Force.

Click here for more from the Air Force website on Fanning.

According to the Washington Blade, Fanning is a former board member of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and served on the board of directors from 2004 to 2007. Fanning told the Blade he hopes the Defense Department will one day adopt a non-discrimination policy to protect openly gay service members.

“Speaking personally, I always think it’s important to have non-discrimination policies codified to include everyone,” Fanning said. “The military, because it has a chain of command, has a different attitude about this and a different way to try to go about protecting airmen, sailors, soldiers, Marines -- but Eric Fanning? Yes. I personally like to see these things in writing and codified.”

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