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Senate committee votes to force military to rename confederate named bases

Fort Benning (US Army/Released)
June 11, 2020

The Republican-led Senate Armed Services Committee voted on Wednesday to approve an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would require the renaming of military bases named for Confederate leaders.

The committee announced on Thursday that it had voted to advance the NDAA and included an executive summary with text confirming the amendment.

“Establishing a commission to study and provide recommendations concerning the removal, names, symbols, displays, monuments, and paraphernalia that honor or commemorate the Confederate States of America, addressing an implementation plan, cost, and criteria for renaming, among other procedures. The implementation plan is to be implemented three years after enactment,” the summary states.

The amendment, which was introduced by Democrat Sen. Elizabeth Warren and passed via voice vote in a closed-door committee meeting, will give the Pentagon a three-year deadline to rename the bases, Roll Call first reported.

On Tuesday, Warren said in a tweet that she had filed the amendment the previous week.

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“As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I filed an amendment to the annual defense bill last week to rename all bases named for Confederate generals. It’s long past time to end the tribute to white supremacy on our military installations,” Warren said in the tweet.

Warren’s tweet came in a response to an opinion piece written by retired Gen. David Petraeus published in The Atlantic which urged the administration to rename the 10 U.S. military bases named for Confederate leaders.

Also on Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said that Trump would “not be signing legislation that renames America’s forts,” and echoed Trump’s opposition to such renaming.

Trump declared in a tweet on Wednesday that he would “not even consider” such an action.

“It has been suggested that we should rename as many as 10 of our Legendary Military Bases, such as Fort Bragg in North Carolina, Fort Hood in Texas, Fort Benning in Georgia, etc. These Monumental and very Powerful Bases have become part of a Great American Heritage, and a history of Winning, Victory, and Freedom,” Trump said.

“The United States of America trained and deployed our HEROES on these Hallowed Grounds, and won two World Wars. Therefore, my Administration will not even consider the renaming of these Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations,” he added. “Our history as the Greatest Nation in the World will not be tampered with. Respect our Military!”

Two days earlier, an Army spokesperson had said Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and Defense Secretary Mark Esper were open to discussing renaming the bases, marking a reversal from previous statements saying the renaming of bases was not up for consideration.