US Military Begins Scrubbing Of Confederate Names

Joe Biden’s Department of Defense (DoD) has begun renaming military bases, ships, and streets that have borne names for years affiliated with the confederacy. The directives come from the congressional Naming Commission.

The Defense Department has begun to act on recommendations by the congressional Naming Commission to rename bases, posts, ships, streets, and other agency assets affiliated with the confederacy.

DoD undersecretary for Acquisition and Sustainment William LaPlante issued a directive on Thursday instructing all military organizations to implement the commission’s recommendations. The order came at the end of the 90-day waiting period required by law following the commission’s final report.

Retired USN Adm. Michelle Howard chairs the naming commission.

The DoD order issued by the Pentagon with the approval of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin gives installations a deadline of January 1, 2024, to complete the renamings.

Pentagon press secretary USAF Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said in his Thursday briefing that each branch “has clear instructions in terms of what it is that they need to focus on, and where Secretary Austin is confident that the services are and will continue to take that seriously.”

The renaming order will apply to more than 1,100 military properties. In addition to renaming nine Army bases and two Navy ships, the order will require the removal of a large memorial to Confederate dead at Arlington National Cemetery just outside of Washington, D.C.

The estimated cost of the renamings is $62.5 million.

Fort Lee in Virginia is one of the affected Army bases. It is named in honor of Gen. Robert E. Lee, graduate and former superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.

Lee, a Virginia native, resigned his commission in the U.S. Army to take a command position with the Confederate States of America army. In addition to the renaming of Fort Lee, the naming commission recommended that his name be removed from buildings and roads at West Point.

A portrait of Lee wearing his Confederate uniform displayed at Jefferson Hall on the campus must also be taken down. However, the order will allow images of Lee at the school depicting his service as superintendent to remain on display.

Congress created the naming commission during the time of the protests around the nation after the death of George Floyd in 2020. Its authorizing legislation was included in the National Defense Authorization Act for the 2021 fiscal year. Congress eventually passed the bill over the veto of President Donald Trump.