Pentagon appoints Trump loyalist to Confederate base renaming commission

Miller’s three other candidates are Earl Matthews, a former Army General Counsel, Ann G. Johnston, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs, and White House official Sean McLean.

The remaining four members of the eight-member panel are yet to be appointed by the chairs and senior members of the Senate and the Armed Forces of the House. Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) And Jack Reed (D-R.I.) And Representatives Adam Smith (D-Wash.) And Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) Each nominate one panelist.

The panel is part of a mandate set out in the National Defense Authorization Act for the Pentagon to rename 10 army bases that honor Confederate leaders and remove other Confederate symbols or honors within three years. The effort reflects a Senate-approved amendment pushed forward by Progressive Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

Despite bipartisan support in the House and Senate for eradicating racial relics in a year of racist upheaval, Trump turned down the effort. After months of threats, the president vetoed the defense law, among other things because of his refusal to rename the bases, which he compared with the rewriting of US history. The legislature has overruled Trump’s veto.

Legislation requires that Confederate names, symbols, monuments and other honors be removed from military property – including bases, buildings, roads, ships, planes, weapons and equipment – within three years. The bill exempts Confederate gravestones from verification.

The commission is tasked with developing criteria for identifying Confederate monuments, recommending procedures for renaming the property and collecting input from local communities.

The body is not specifically tasked with finding new names for bases, although it could do so or contact the Secretary of the Army or the Secretary of Defense.

A final report is due by October 1, 2022 describing the property that needs to be removed or renamed. The Pentagon has until early 2024 to execute the plan.

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