The House has jumped into the Civil War culture wars, adopting an amendment to the massive proposed National Defense Authorization Act that would prohibit the Pentagon from naming a military vehicle, vessel or base after Confederate leaders or significant locations linked to the Southern cause in the war.
The amendment by Rep. Gregory Meeks, New York Democrat, bars the secretary of defense from naming a base, installation, military facility, aircraft, ship, equipment or property owned by the department “that refers to, or includes a term referring to, the Confederate States of America.”
There are currently 10 Army bases named after Confederate generals, including Fort Rucker, Fort Benning, Fort Gordon, Camp Beauregard, Fort Polk, Fort Bragg, Fort Hood, Fort Lee, Fort A.P. Hill and Fort Pickett. There are no known Air Force, Navy or Marine Corp locations named after members of the Confederacy, according to researchers.
The U.S. Navy has four ships named after officers in the Confederacy, one of which was named after Robert E. Lee, and all have been decommissioned.
While the amendment bans naming future U.S. military property after a Confederate general or location, it does not specify that existing property with a link to the Confederacy to change.
The House is working its way through hundreds of proposed amendments to the NDAA. The Senate has already approved its version of the annual defense policy bill.