The US Senate has finally tabled a confirmation hearing for the openly gay official who is set to become head of the Army.

Back in September, the White House nominated Eric Fanning to serve as the US Secretary of the Army.

The nomination of Mr Fanning – already the highest ranking openly gay member of the Department of Defense – is hugely poignant, just six years after out soldiers were welcomed for the first time.

The decision has spent months stalled in the US Congress, with no movement to bring forward a required Confirmation hearing.

However, the hearing was finally scheduled this week – and Mr Fanning’s case is set to be heard by the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday morning.

The official may have a tough time, however – the Hill reports that Republican lawmaker Pat Roberts is planning to block the appointment to gain leverage over plans to close the Guantanamo Bay detention centre.

Barack Obama said of Mr Fanning previously:  “Eric brings many years of proven experience and exceptional leadership to this new role.

“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.”