Those who've skimmed the major-media headlines surrounding Eric Fanning, the man President Obama nominated Sept. 18 to succeed Army Secretary John McHugh, have learned more about Fanning's private life than about his path to possibly becoming the service's top civilian.
Here are some details you may have missed, plus a recap of some of the reaction to the nomination that reached the presidential campaign trail:
Joint bona fides: Fanning has been acting Army undersecretary since June, but has been in leadership roles at the Pentagon since 2009. He served as deputy undersecretary of the Navy for business operations and transformation until 2013, when he was confirmed by the Senate as Air Force undersecretary.
He became acting Air Force secretary in June of that year, when Michael Donley stepped down, and held that spot for about six months until the senate confirmed the Air Force's current top civilian, Deborah Lee James.
No stranger to cuts:
"I believe that the American people have a right, as we come out of two long wars, to feel that they can spend less, invest less in national security forces," he said, but added that sequestration limited his service's ability to make those cuts in a sensible manner, which "resulted in a profound impact on our readiness."
Making headlines: Fanning would be the first openly gay service secretary, a fact that led most coverage of his nomination and drew a statement from former Arkansas Gov. and Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, who claimed the move showed the president "is more interested in appeasing America's homosexuals than honoring America's heroes."
In 2013, Fanning told the Washington Blade, which bills itself as "America's leading gay news source," that when it came to the LGBT cause, "I don't think there's anything as important as just living an open life of integrity and productivity. … The more of us that are out and just doing the normal course of work of what we do … that's one of the most important things we can do."
Ivy strong: Fanning, 47, earned a bachelor's degree in history from Dartmouth in 1990, 10 years after the Army's new chief of staff, Gen. Mark Milley, earned a bachelor's in political science from Princeton. Fanning told his school's alumni magazine in 2013 that he attended Dartmouth "intending to become an architect, but was "bitten by the political bug" during the 1988 presidential primary season.
The bite eventually led him to Washington, and to the Pentagon.
Out of the office. Fanning said he visited more than 40 bases in just six months as the Air Force's top civilian. On Sept. 15, just days before his Army nomination, Fanning visited soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas, taking in a live-fire exercise and stopping by a support battalion's motor pool to learn more about the supply chain, according to an Army news release.
His visit to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in August included a leap from the 34-foot tower at the base's Advanced Airborne School.
Kevin Lilley is the features editor of Military Times.