Army Secretary Eric Fanning calls his elevation to the job "remarkable." Fanning is the first gay head of a military service branch.

Of his sexuality, Fanning tells NBC's "Today" he initially preferred to have people talk about his qualifications. But he says, "Now, I embrace it."

Asked if he's had to any endure any harsh treatment at the Pentagon, Fanning says, "Careless comments, sure."

But he says he hasn't needed "to confront anyone."

The 47-year-old Fanning tells NBC his sexuality "certainly has become more of a story as each rung in the career has taken place."

He says he loves his job, but expects he'll likely be leaving after the Obama administration ends. Fanning says that by next Jan. 21, "I imagine myself on a beach someplace."