The Pentagon has ordered the Naming Commission’s recommendations to take effect by the end of 2023, changing the Confederate-associated names of military installations across the country.
The Naming Commission was established in the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, which then-President Donald Trump vetoed due to the presence of the commission. Supermajorities in both the House and Senate overrode Trump’s veto.
Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment William LaPlante gave the directive to all Department of Defense (DOD) organizations to “begin full implementation” of the Naming Commission’s recommendations three months after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin gave his approval on the effort.
The military branches and all other DOD organizations will now have until January 1, 2024, to work on renaming or removing the more than 1,100 street, school, and building names, symbols, displays, monuments, and paraphernalia in the United States and overseas that honor or commemorate those who served the Confederate States of America.
The Naming Commission recommended the changes in a final report released in September.
At the heart of the changes is the renaming of nine Army bases currently honoring Confederate generals, for which the commission offered alternative titles earlier this summer.
Those bases and their proposed alternatives are:
- Fort Benning, Georgia – rename Fort Moore after Lt. Gen. Hal and Julia Moore.
- Fort Bragg, North Carolina – rename Fort Liberty after the value of liberty.
- Fort Gordon, Georgia – rename Fort Eisenhower after General of the Army Dwight Eisenhower.
- Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia – rename Fort Walker after Dr. Mary Walker.
- Fort Hood, Texas – rename Fort Cavazos after Gen. Richard Cavazos.
- Fort Lee, Virginia – rename Fort Gregg-Adams after Lt. Gen. Arthur Gregg and Lt. Col. Charity Adams.
- Fort Pickett, Virginia – rename Fort Barfoot after Tech. Sgt. Van T. Barfoot.
- Fort Polk, Louisiana – rename Fort Johnson after Sgt. William Henry Johnson.
- Fort Rucker, Alabama – rename Fort Novosel after Chief Warrant Officer 4 Michael J. Novosel Sr.
Fort Hood, which is located in southwestern Bell and southeastern Coryell counties in Central Texas, was named after Gen. John Bell Hood, the commander of the Confederate Army’s Texas brigade during the Civil War.
It will be renamed after Gen. Richard Cavazos, a native of Texas who served in the Korean and Vietnam wars, as reported by The Dallas Express. Cavazos became the U.S. Army’s first Hispanic four-star general in 1982.
Coryell County Judge Roger Miller expressed apprehension about changing the name, suggesting, “The overwhelming response I have heard from people is to leave the name alone. … That has been the majority response from Coryell County people that I have talked to.
“For 80 years, Fort Hood has had that name, and it hasn’t been an issue,” Miller continued. “In another 80 years, norms in society may change and people at that time could be faced with having to rename the base again.”
Asked whether the U.S. military can meet the deadline, Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder told reporters that each of the services “has clear instructions in terms of what it is that they need to focus on,” and Secretary Austin “is confident that the services are and will continue to take that seriously.”
After Congress mandated it in 2021, the Naming Commission spent 18 months conducting “extensive consultations” with experts, historians, communities, and service members to identify and suggest alternative titles for the Confederacy-related items and names.
The DOD will spend an estimated $62.5 million in taxpayer funds to complete the changes in names and items.