A congressional commission tasked with recommending new names for defense installations that commemorate Confederate leaders and symbols has launched a website to gather public suggestions.
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, more commonly referred to as the Naming Commission, is seeking input on new names for at least a dozen installations or Navy ships.
That includes Fort Gordon and Fort Benning in Georgia; Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Fort Rucker, Alabama; Fort A.P. Hill, Fort Belvoir, Fort Lee and Fort Pickett in Virginia; Fort Polk, Louisiana and the USS Chancellorsville and USNS Maury.
Pickett is home to the Army National Guard Maneuver Training Center but is a federal installation. Other Guard facilities named for former Confederate leaders, such as Camp Beauregard, Louisiana, or Camp Maxey, Texas, aren’t under consideration because they are state-controlled installations.
Members of the public are able to recommend new names online. Final recommendations are due to be made to Congress by Oct. 1, 2022.
The Naming Commission reports to the House and Senate Armed Services Committees. It is comprised of eight members: retired Adm. Michelle Howard, retired Brig. Gen. Ty Seidule, retired Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick, Jerry Buchannan, retired Gen. Robert Neller, Lawrence Romo, Kori Schake and Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga.
The commission is also tasked with assessing the cost of renaming or removing names, symbols, displays, monuments or paraphernalia that commemorate the Confederacy and developing a plan to remove those names and symbols.
In addition to installations and ships, the commission is also looking at names for buildings, streets, aircraft, weapons, equipment or any other property owned or controlled by the Defense Department.
Commission leaders will visit all installations identified for renaming and meet with local community stakeholders. Any new names must “appropriately reflect the courage, values, sacrifices and diversity of our military men and women, with consideration given to the local or regional significance of names and their potential to inspire and motivate our service members.”
Under law, the Defense Department must implement a plan submitted by the commission no later than Jan. 1, 2024.