WASHINGTON (Army News Service) -- Eric Fanning was sworn in, May 18, as the 22nd secretary of the Army during a small Pentagon ceremony.

Fanning was confirmed, May 17, by the U.S. Senate. He was nominated by President Barack Obama for the position, Nov. 3, and served briefly as acting secretary of the Army until voluntarily stepping aside in January until the nomination process could be completed.

"It has been a long process to get here," Fanning said, "one that I don't think even the writers from 'House of Cards' could have scripted if they tried."

"But it's worth it," he continued. "This is a tremendous honor for me -- not just the appointment, but the opportunity to be secretary of the greatest Army in the history of the world."

As secretary of the Army, Fanning has overall responsible for organizing, training and equipping Army forces.

"It's a responsibility I take seriously," Fanning said. He defined his job as making "sure you're recruiting the best, that you're training them properly and then equipping them with what they need to do the job right and to get them home."

Fanning, 47, served as chief of staff to Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter from March 2015 until he was appointed by the president as undersecretary of the Army June 30.

Fanning served as acting secretary of the Air Force from June 21 to Dec. 30, 2013. Before that he was undersecretary of the Air Force. He also served as deputy undersecretary of the Navy from 2009 to 2013.

"Over the past several years, I've seen firsthand why Eric Fanning is one of this administration's most trusted and capable appointees and one of the Pentagon's most dependable civilian leaders," Carter said.

Carter administered the oath of office to Fanning Wednesday afternoon in the Pentagon.

"I look forward to working with him as he strengthens our Army, builds on its best traditions and prepares our ground forces to confront a new generation of challenges," Carter said.

Fanning thanked everyone in the room for helping him along the way. "They say it takes a village ... it took many villages to get me here," Fanning said.

Fanning said he is looking forward to "getting back to work" with Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Mark Milley.