Waiting game

By Sebastian Sprenger / January 11, 2016 at 12:18 PM

The Pentagon announced Monday that acting Army Secretary Eric Fanning, who was nominated by President Obama in September, will leave his acting role to the recently confirmed service under secretary, former congressman Patrick Murphy.

"In conversations relating to Fanning's confirmation, members of the Senate Armed Services Committee expressed some concerns about his designation as Acting Army Secretary pursuant to the Vacancies Act," reads a Pentagon statement. "While the administration believes the designation of Fanning as Acting Secretary of the Army is consistent with the Vacancies Act, as a show of comity to address these concerns, Fanning has agreed to step out of his acting role to focus on achieving confirmation in the near future. In the interim, newly sworn-in Under Secretary of the Army Patrick Murphy will serve as Acting Secretary."

Tensions run high between the Republican majority on the committee and the White House over Obama's initial veto of the now-enacted Fiscal Year 2016 National Defense Authorization Act. Murphy's confirmation, moved suddenly by the committee last month, could be seen as a sign that committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) still is not ready to approve the most senior nominations.

"We expect this move to be of a short duration and for Fanning to achieve speedy confirmation," the Pentagon statement reads. "He remains one of the most qualified nominees to be a Service Secretary, having served in many senior executive positions in each of the three military departments and as Chief of Staff of the Department."