WASHINGTON – The Defense Department is shelling out $21 million on what critics argue seems to be the BIden military’s most pressing issue – renaming bases that offend the left.
In 90 days, nine Army bases long named for Confederate generals will “immediately” begin swapping to more palatable-to-the-woke-crowd labels such as “Fort Liberty” – in a move that will cost more than $21 million.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Thursday ordered the Army to begin renaming nine bases selected for the change by an independent commission after a congressionally mandated 90-day wait period expires.
“I fully support the efforts and recommendations of the Naming Commission on this important matter, and I am committed to implementing all of the commission’s recommendations as soon as possible,” Austin said in his directive.” “To that end, I direct the relevant DOD … heads to begin planning for implementation of the Commission’s recommendations immediately.
Army and Pentagon leaders began considering stripping bases of Confederate-linked names in 2020 during the nationwide racial riots after Minneapolis police killed George Floyd, a black man under arrest on suspicion of using a counterfeit $20 bill.
The naming commission in May announced the new names for the affected military bases – all of which are in former Confederate states and named in the 1910s and 1940s amid the South’s Jim Crow era. Congress had to first approve the names before Austin could carry out the order.
“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, the places where our Service members and their families work and live,” the secretary said in his order.
“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.”
The $21 million will cover “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,” according to a May report by the commission.
The Army will begin the switches on Dec. 18 and must be completed no later than Jan. 1, 2023, according to Austin’s order.
However, some of the commission’s recommended changes – such as altering the DOD’s “memorialization and naming processes” are not subject to the 90-day waiting period. Those issues must now be implemented “immediately,” per Austin’s mandate.
The following are the bases and their new names, as well as their estimated costs to make the switches.
— Fort Bragg, N.C., to Fort Liberty — $6,374,230
— Fort Polk, La., to Fort Johnson — $1,390,240
— Fort Benning, Ga., to Fort Moore — $4,928,574
— Fort Gordon, Ga., to Fort Eisenhower — $580,000
— Fort A.P. Hill, Va., to Fort Walker — $1,982,227
— Fort Hood, Texas, to Fort Cavazos — $1,539,885
— Fort Pickett, Va., to Fort Barfoot — $322,900
— Fort Rucker, Ala., to Fort Novosel — $1,526,645
— Fort Lee, Va., to Fort Gregg-Adams — $2,396,600
The naming commission spent eight months consulting base communities and leaders, sifting through more than 3,670 different name suggestions from more the 34,000 submissions from the public, according to the commission.
“The commission’s thorough and historically informed work has put the department on a path to meet congressional intent – and to remove from U.S. military facilities all names, symbols, displays, monuments, and paraphernalia that honor or commemorate the Confederacy,” Austin said.
“The commission has chosen names that echo with honor, patriotism, and history – names that will inspire generations of Service members to defend our democracy and our constitution,” he continued.