Frequently Asked Questions
What is the actual name of the Naming Commission?
Per the William "Mac" Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for 2021, we are officially 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."
We are more commonly referred to as the "Naming Commission."
Who serves on the Commission?
The eight members of the Naming Commission appointed by the administration and Congress are:
Does the Naming Commission report to Congress or the Secretary of Defense?
We are a Congressional Commission that reports to the House Armed Services Committee and Senate Armed Services Committee.
What are the specific duties of the Naming Commission?
Ultimately, we are charged with providing recommendations to Congress for the removal or renaming of DoD assets that commemorate the Confederate States of America or those who voluntarily served with the Confederacy. We will deliver a written report to the House Armed Services Committee and Senate Armed Services Committee by Oct. 1, 2022 that includes a list of identified assets, the costs to remove or rename them, and the criteria and methods we developed to identify those assets.
The complete duties of the commission, as written in the William "Mac" Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for 2021, are:
Assess the cost of renaming or removing names, symbols, displays, monuments, or paraphernalia that commemorate the Confederate States of America or any person who served voluntarily with the Confederate States of America;
Develop procedures and criteria to assess whether an existing name, symbol, monument, display, or paraphernalia commemorates the Confederate States of America or person who served voluntarily with the Confederate States of America;
Recommend procedures for renaming assets of the Department of Defense to prevent commemoration of the Confederate States of America or any person who served voluntarily with the Confederate States of America;
Develop a plan to remove names, symbols, displays, monuments, or paraphernalia that commemorate the Confederate States of America or any person who served voluntarily with the Confederate States of America from assets of the Department of Defense, within the timeline established by this Act; and
Include in the plan procedures and criteria for collecting and incorporating local sensitivities associated with naming or renaming of assets of the Department of Defense.
What kinds of things will be removed or renamed?
The commission has been directed to establish criteria to rename or remove “names, symbols, displays, monuments and paraphernalia” that commemorate the Confederacy. In addition, any “base, installation, street, building, facility, aircraft, ship, plane, weapon, equipment or any other property owned or controlled by the Department of Defense” also will be reviewed.
Which military installations and/or vessels will be renamed?
Nine Army posts named after Confederate officers are being considered:
Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia
Fort Benning, Georgia
Fort Bragg, North Carolina
Fort Gordon, Georgia
Fort Hood, Texas
Fort Lee, Virginia
Fort Pickett, Virginia
Fort Polk, Louisiana
Fort Rucker, Alabama
We are also deliberating the inclusion of recommendations for the Army’s Fort Belvoir in Virginia.
While there are yet other installations with names linked to the Confederacy, the Commission is empowered to make recommendations only for Department of Defense assets. This means the Commission cannot consider new names for National Guard installations – for example, Camp Beauregard, Louisiana and Camp Maxey, Texas – which fall under the operational control of their respective state governments.
Along with these installations, two ships are being considered for renaming: the USNS Maury and the USS Chancellorsville.
Are Confederate grave markers subject to removal?
No. Section 370 of the 2021 NDAA specifically excludes grave markers from removal. The commission will not recommend disturbing remains or modifying grave markers in any way. The commission was charged with further defining what constitutes a grave marker and those considerations will be included in the final report to Congress.
How will new names be selected for installations?
Congress mandated incorporating local sensitivities in the process and recommendations. Because we recognize the great importance of this, the commission has visited all installations identified for renaming and engaged with local community stakeholders whenever possible to ensure their voices carry weight in the process. Members of the public were also invited to submit recommendations for new names to the commission via this website from September 7 until December 1, 2021 – more than 34,000 submissions were received for consideration (the number of submissions received for any particular name will not influence final recommendations made by the Commission – suggested names will be considered by the commissioners based solely on their merit). The Commission will provide its final recommendations to Congress by Oct. 1, 2022.
What criteria are being considered for new names?
The names of our military installations should appropriately reflect the courage, values and sacrifices of our diverse 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.
When will the installation names actually be changed?
Per Section 370 of the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, the Secretary of Defense is expected to “implement a plan submitted by the commission” no later than Jan. 1, 2024, three years after the NDAA became law. While we anticipate that renaming activities would take place around that time-frame, the role of the commission is strictly to provide recommendations, not execute activities on behalf of DoD.