- The Washington Times - Friday, February 12, 2021

The Navy’s first black female four-star admiral and a former commandant of the Marine Corps are among the names put forward by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to a commission to recommend a process for renaming Army bases and other landmarks named for Confederate leaders.

The members representing the Pentagon on the congressionally mandated panel include retired Navy Adm. Michelle Howard, a former vice chief of naval operations; retired Marine Corps Gen. Robert Neller; Kori Schake, director of foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute; and retired Army Brig. Gen. Ty Seidule, a former history professor at West Point.

“Each of these individuals possesses unique and relevant experience, in and out of government, that I know will inform this important effort,” Mr. Austin said. “I am enormously grateful for their willingness to serve the nation again, and I thank them in advance for the wise counsel I am confident they will provide.”

Congress created the panel as part of the fiscal 2021 National Defense Authorization Act following the widespread debate over 10 Army posts such as Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and Fort Hood, Texas, named after Confederate generals. Former President Trump opposed the effort to rename the bases and vetoed the NDAA, which was later overridden. 

The commission members are expected to gather input from local communities before forwarding their renaming plan to the House and Senate armed services committee by October 2022. Mr. Austin must implement the plan by Jan. 1, 2024.

The leaders of the Senate and House armed services committees appointed the four other members of the commission. Sen. Jack Reed, a Democrat from Rhode Island who serves as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, chose retired Army Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick, a former commander of the Army Corps of Engineers; while U.S. Rep. Adam Smith, a Democrat from Washington who is the chair of the House Armed Services Committee picked Lonnie G. Bunch III, the founding director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. 

Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, the senior Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, chose Jerry Buchanan, a business owner and civic leader from Tulsa, Oklahoma, and former Army drill sergeant at Fort Polk, Louisiana, one of the bases on the list.

U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, a Republican from Alabama who is the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, chose U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, a Republican from Georgia whose district includes two U.S. Air Force bases and who has served on the committee since he was elected in 2010.

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