(CN) — From framed artwork and historical displays in the Pentagon to entire bases and ships, there are some 1,112 Department of Defense assets identified in the Naming Commission’s final report to Congress this week targeted for rebranding or renaming because they memorialize people or events tied to the Confederacy.
In August, the commission released the first two parts of its three-part report, focusing on U.S. Army bases and the U.S. Military Academy and U.S. Naval Academy, respectively.
The final part provided to Congress on Monday reviewed other military assets, provided projected costs of the program and made recommendations for the DOD to rename or rebrand assets by a deadline of Jan. 1, 2024.
Notably, although not all agencies of the DOD were represented, the report concluded the program would cost an estimated $62.5 million to implement.
The Naming Commission was established by the Defense Authorization Act of 2021 and tasked with five primary duties, including developing criteria and procedures for identifying and renaming assets, assessing the cost of the renaming program and creating a plan for preventing Confederate-aligned names from being commemorated by the DOD in the future. The program must also incorporate “local sensitivities.” The commission is made up of eight appointed members.
In order for an asset to qualify for renaming, guidelines suggest it be owned by the Pentagon and originally named with the “core purpose” of honoring or commemorating “the Confederacy or a person who served voluntarily with the Confederacy.” Grave markers and museum exhibits are excluded, and the commission also had leeway to consider the “historical context of the original naming decision.”
As part of the process for renaming the assets, the commission also gathered public input online and visited nine Army bases, where it conducted meetings with local stakeholders. Those bases were identified in part one of the report and include some of the Army’s most storied institutions.
Fort Bragg in North Carolina, for example, was named after Braxton Bragg, a slave-owning Confederate Army officer considered “one of the worse generals of the Civil War,” according to the report. Similarly, “ardent secessionist” and “bitter opponent of abolition” Confederate general Henry L. Benning is the namesake of Fort Benning on the Georgia-Alabama border. Fort Hood in Texas memorializes John Bell Hood, an “aggressive” Confederate general whose troops suffered some of the highest casualty rates in the Civil War.
During the public input process, more than 34,000 replacement names were nominated, the commission reported. The commission determined the intent of renaming should be to honor deceased individuals who “distinguished themselves through courageous and valorous acts and/or through a life of service” to the United States. Preference will be given to names that have an affiliation with the location of the asset or branch of the military.
The recommended names reflect a more diverse and inclusive military.
Fort Lee in Virginia, originally named for Robert E. Lee, may be renamed for two African Americans, Charity Adams and Arthur J. Gregg. Adams became the second-highest ranking woman in the Women’s Army Corps during World War II and was responsible for delivering more than 6 million pieces of mail per month. Gregg enlisted in 1945 and helped rebuild Europe, but rose in the ranks to become logistics director for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Fort Polk in Louisiana was originally named after Leonidas Polk, a “slave-owning bishop” who became a major general in the Confederate army, according to the report. The commission recommended it be renamed for Sergeant William Henry Johnson, a Black Army soldier who was the first American to win the French Croix de Guerre award. Johnson’s bravery during World War I was marked by an episode of hand-to-hand combat where he survived despite being outnumbered 20-1.