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” is being reviewed. A list of current DoD assets under review is available here.
Which military installations and/or vessels will be renamed?
The commission will make recommendations to Congress of new names for nine Army posts named after Confederate officers: Fort A.P. Hill, Fort Lee and Fort Pickett in Virginia; Fort Benning and Fort Gordon in Georgia; Fort Rucker, Alabama; Fort Polk, Louisiana; Fort Bragg, North Carolina; and Fort Hood, Texas.
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.
A list of current DoD assets under review is available here.
Is the Commission recommending a new name for Fort Belvoir?
The Commission reviewed Fort Belvoir, Virginia – originally named after U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Andrew A. Humphreys in 1917 and renamed in 1935 after the Colonial-era plantation that once stood on its grounds – and determined it does not meet the criteria provided in the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act for a renaming recommendation. The Commission will recommend the Department of Defense conduct its own naming review of the post.
What is the status of the U.S. Navy vessels under consideration for renaming?
The determination for the USS Chancellorsville and USNS Maury, along with many other items, will be in the final report to Congress.
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 are new names being selected for installations?
The Commission received more than 34,000 submissions about renaming through community engagements and a public comment period via its website. Analysis of the recommendations identified 3,670 unique names among the submissions for potential use. Using criteria that will be detailed in the final report, and aided by extensive research by a team of historians, the Commission reviewed the list and conducted deliberations to narrow the list to less than 100 total names. Commissioners are engaging the same groups it met last year, this time via virtual listening sessions March-April 2022, before deliberating final name recommendations.
What criteria are being considered for new names?
The Commission established criteria focused on ensuring the names considered for military installations appropriately reflected 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 service members. More details will be included in the Commission's final report.
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.