(The Hill) – Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has given the go-ahead to alter the names of some 1,111 military installations and facilities related to the Confederacy, according to a new memo released Thursday.
Following a final report from the Naming Commission — which last month put forward its suggestions to rename or remove the more than 1,100 items that fall under the purview of the Defense Department (DOD) — Austin has concurred with all of the commission’s recommendations “and is committed to implementing them as soon as possible,” press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said in a statement.
At the heart of the effort were nine Army bases currently honoring Confederate generals, which the commission earlier this summer offered alternative titles for.
“The installations and facilities that our Department operates are more than vital national security assets. They are also powerful public symbols of our military, and of course, they are the places where our Service members and their families work and live,” Austin said in the memo. “The names of these installations and facilities should inspire all those who call them home, fully reflect the history and the values of the United States, and commemorate the best of the republic that we are all sworn to protect.”
The effort comes after 18 months of work by the Naming Commission, including “extensive consultations with experts, historians, and the communities rooted in the bases in question.”
The plan will remove from the U.S. military names, symbols, displays, monuments, and paraphernalia that honor or commemorate the Confederacy or any person who served with the Confederacy.
Once implemented, the commission’s plan “will give proud new names that are rooted in their local communities and that honor American heroes whose valor, courage, and patriotism exemplify the very best of the United States military,” Austin wrote.
The Pentagon chief has directed DOD leaders and the military services to begin implementation in December following a 90-day wait period, as mandated in last year’s annual defense authorization bill, according to the statement.
Combined all together, it will cost the Pentagon an estimated $62.5 million to implement the recommendations from the final report, according to the commission.