This Month, the Senate Armed Services Committee Passed a Bipartisan Version of This Proposal to Rename Bases and All Military Assets within Three Years
Washington, D.C. – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet and 35 of his Senate Democratic colleagues introduced standalone legislation requiring the Pentagon to remove all names, symbols, displays, monuments, and paraphernalia that honor or commemorate the Confederate States of America and anyone who voluntarily served it from all military bases and other assets of the Department of Defense (DoD). The Removing Confederate Names and Symbols from Our Military Act would require the Pentagon to rename the assets within one year.
“Slavery and the injustices Black Americans face have been with us since before America’s founding and have left an indelible stain on our country’s history,” said Bennet. “It is long past time our country stops honoring those who fought to defend slavery and the Confederacy. This legislation would rightfully require the Department of Defense to remove names, symbols, and other paraphernalia that celebrate our country’s worst instincts from all U.S. military bases and assets.”
While changing the names of military bases won't erase the history of slavery and the legacy of white supremacy in this country, those who took up arms against the United States to preserve the institution of chattel slavery should not be celebrated.
The Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) passed a bipartisan version of this amendment to remove all names, symbols, displays, monuments, and paraphernalia that honor or commemorate the Confederacy and anyone who voluntarily served it from bases and other property of the U.S. military within three years. The proposal also creates a process for identifying all military assets where the Confederacy is honored and implementing the new removal requirement.
The Removing Confederate Names and Symbols from Our Military Act will:
- Require the Secretary of Defense to remove all names, symbols, displays, monuments, and paraphernalia that honor or commemorate the Confederate States of America or any person who served voluntarily with the Confederate States of America from all assets of the Department of Defense. Grave markers will be exempted.
- Define the term ''asset'' to include any base, installation, street, building, facility, aircraft, ship, plane, weapon, equipment, or any other property owned or controlled by the Department of Defense.
- Require the Secretary of Defense to submit a certification in writing to SASC and the House Armed Services Committee detailing that removal has been completed.
- Prohibit the future display of any name, symbol, display, monument or paraphernalia that honors or commemorates the Confederate States of America or any person who served voluntarily.
In addition to Bennet, the legislation is co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), Robert Casey (D-Pa.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawai'i), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawai'i), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chris Coons (D-Conn.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.).
The text of the bill is available HERE.