President Barack Obama on Friday announced plans to nominate Eric Fanning to lead the U.S. Army, making him the first gay secretary of one of the military branches.

    “Eric brings many years of proven experience and exceptional leadership to this new role,” Obama said in a statement. “I am grateful for his commitment to our men and women in uniform, and I am confident he will help lead America’s Soldiers with distinction. I look forward to working with Eric to keep our Army the very best in the world.”

Fanning’s nomination marks the latest step the administration has taken to open up the military to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Fanning, served as acting undersecretary of the Army since June, he was also a special assistant to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and also undersecretary of the Air Force.

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