The 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) included a bipartisan agreement made by the House and Senate members requiring that the Secretary of Defense implement a plan submitted by a commission to rename 10 military bases that are named after Confederate Generals. The 10 bases that will be renamed are Ft. Bragg in North Carolina; Camp Beauregard and Fort Polk in Louisiana; Fort Benning and Fort Gordon in Georgia; Fort A.P. Hill, Fort Lee and Fort Pickett in Virginia, Fort Hood in Texas and Fort Rucker in Alabama. The army bases were named by the War Department during World War I and II and are now getting a name change.
Part of the 2021 NDAA was that a commission is formed to plan the 10 Army bases’ renaming. The NDAA stated that the commission would be composed of eight members, four of which would be appointed by the Secretary of Defense and appointed no later than 45 days after the bill passes. On January 8, 2021, Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller announced the appointment of four people to the commission assigned with the task of renaming these military bases. Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller selected Sean McLean of California, Joshua Whitehouse of New Hampshire, Anne G. Johnston of North Carolina and Earl Matthews of Pennsylvania to the Commission on the Naming of Items of the Department of Defense that Commemorate the Confederate States of America or Any Person Who Served Voluntarily with the Confederate States of America. The other four members will be selected by the House and Senate Armed Services Committees’ ranking members.
The NDAA provides specifics on the meetings and reports required as part of the commission. Per the bill, the commission must hold its first meeting within the first 60 days after the bill becomes the law and must brief the Armed Services Committee on the current plans no later than October 1st, 2021. The commission has been given three years to complete the plan for the name changes. By October 1, 2022, the commission must brief their plan of the costs associated with the “renaming or removing the names, symbols, displays, monuments, or paraphernalia that commemorate the Confederate States of American or any person who served voluntarily with the Confederate States of America” including the procedures for the renaming. For further details about the Commission can be read in Section 377 of the National Defense Authorization Act here in the Senate version of the bill. While H.R. 6395 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 has become a public law as of 01/01/2021, the full public text is not currently available as of this writing.