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Pentagon, Congress appoint panel members to rename Confederate base names

Pentagon, Congress appoint panel members to rename Confederate base names
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The Pentagon and Congress on Friday appointed members of a new commission tasked with renaming Confederate-named military bases and property.

Defense Secretary Lloyd AustinLloyd AustinOvernight Defense: Biden nominating first female Army secretary | Israel gets tough on Iran amid nuclear talks | Army's top enlisted soldier 'very proud' of officer pepper sprayed by police Israel gets tough with Iran as Biden signals shift from Trump Biden to nominate first female Army secretary MORE, who earlier this month ousted Trump administration-appointed members from the panel, named four individuals to the commission.

Austin appointed retired Adm. Michelle Howard, a former vice chief of naval operations and the first African American woman to command a U.S. Navy ship; former Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Bob Neller; retired Army Brig. Gen. Ty Seidule, professor emeritus of history at West Point; and Kori Schake, a former State and Defense department official who is now director of foreign and defense policy studies at the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute.

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“Each of these individuals possesses unique and relevant experience, in and out of government, that I know will inform this important effort,” Austin said in a statement.

The Democratic chairmen and top Republicans on the House and Senate Armed Services committees appointed members as well.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack ReedJack ReedOvernight Defense: Biden nominating first female Army secretary | Israel gets tough on Iran amid nuclear talks | Army's top enlisted soldier 'very proud' of officer pepper sprayed by police On The Money: CDC extends coronavirus eviction ban through June 30 | Biden to detail infrastructure proposal Wednesday | US won't quickly lift Trump tariffs on China Senate panel ties on embattled Pentagon nominee MORE (D-R.I) selected retired Army Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick, the first Black graduate of West Point to serve as head of the Army Corps of Engineers. Sen James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeBiden defense budget criticized by Republicans, progressives alike Sanders expresses 'serious concerns' with Biden's defense increase Senate GOP slams Biden defense budget MORE (R-Okla.) chose veteran Jerry Buchanan, “a private business owner and civic leader in Tulsa,” according to a committee statement.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam SmithDavid (Adam) Adam SmithOvernight Defense: Biden nominating first female Army secretary | Israel gets tough on Iran amid nuclear talks | Army's top enlisted soldier 'very proud' of officer pepper sprayed by police Bernie Sanders goes after Elon Musk for wanting to explore space OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Pentagon unveils policies reversing Trump's transgender ban l Top US military officer calls Russia, Ukraine over 'concerns' about troop buildup MORE (D-Wash.) picked Secretary of the Smithsonian Lonnie Bunch, a former director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. Rep. Mike RogersMichael (Mike) Dennis RogersBiden defense budget criticized by Republicans, progressives alike Biden's prediction on Afghanistan withdrawal spurs doubts Republicans downplay military's extremism issue in hearing MORE (R-Ala.) selected fellow committee member Rep. Austin ScottJames (Austin) Austin ScottHouse Republican takes part in hearing while driving car Overnight Defense: Tim Kaine moves to claw back war powers authority | Study on sexual harassment and assault in the military Commissioners tasked with scrubbing Confederate base names sworn-in at first meeting MORE (R-Ga.).

The commission  created in the most recent National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)  is tasked with planning how to change “names, symbols, displays, monuments and paraphernalia to assets of the Department of Defense that commemorate the Confederate States of America or any person who served voluntarily with the Confederate States of America” within three years.

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The Army’s 10 bases named after Confederate leaders have received the most public attention, but the legislation requires renaming any “base, installation, street, building, facility, aircraft, ship, plane, weapon, equipment or any other property owned or controlled by the Department of Defense.”

Lawmakers in both parties argued that it was long overdue to remove names honoring traitors who fought to preserve slavery, not least because it affects the morale of Black service members.

The Trump administration opposed the panel’s creation, with the former president claiming the NDAA's requirement to strip Confederate names was a politically motivated attempt “to wash away history.”

Following a veto override of the NDAA, then-acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller named four members to the commission before President BidenJoe BidenTrump: McConnell 'helpless' to stop Biden from packing court Biden, first lady send 'warmest greetings' to Muslims for Ramadan The business case for child care reform MORE took office.

Austin ousted the members less than a month later, removing the last-minute appointees along with hundreds of members from the Pentagon's advisory committees.

The new commission must brief the Armed Services committees on its progress no later than Oct. 1 and by October 2022 must present a report that includes a list of assets to be removed or renamed and the costs associated.