Eric Fanning questioned by Senators during nomination hearing
As secretary, Fanning is responsible for management, budget, acquisition, personnel and base issues for a network of some 150 installations around the world. Army soldiers are deployed in about 140 countries and the Army employs 1.4 workers, second only to Walmart.
Fanning is the first openly gay person to serve as secretary of the Army and is also the only person to hold senior executive jobs in three military branches: Army, Air Force and Navy.
Fanning, who took office in May 2016, will soon be replaced. President-elect Donald Trump nominated Vincent Viola for the post. Viola, a West Point graduate and former Army Ranger, owns the National Hockey League’s Florida Panthers and is founder of the digital trader firm Virtu Financial. His appointment is subject to Senate confirmation.
If confirmed by the Senate, Viola will take over as civilian leader of an Army struggling to recoup and recapitalize after more than 15 years at war. Fanning said another challenge is that the federal budget process is so unstable that it doesn’t allow for long-term planning.
Fanning said a smooth transition of power is a proud tradition at the Department of Defense but it is also a time when adversaries may try to test the United States.
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