In a press release, the DOD said the bases will be renamed by no later than January 2024.
The decision comes after the Naming Commission, established by Congress last year to plan for the removal of Confederate-linked “names, symbols, displays, monuments, or paraphernalia” that honor or commemorate the Confederate States of America, completed its analysis on Sept. 19.
The commission is made up of eight volunteers selected by Congress and the defense secretary.
Following 18 months of work, which included “extensive consultations with experts, historians, and the communities rooted in the bases in question,” it found nine Army bases that were named in commemoration of the Confederacy and its leaders.
“The installations and facilities that our Department operates are more than vital national security assets. They are also powerful public symbols of our military, and of course, they are the places where our Service members and their families work and live,” Austin wrote in a memo on the decision on Thursday.
New Names ‘Should Inspire All Those Who Call Them Home’
“The names of these installations and facilities should inspire all those who call them home, fully reflect the history and the values of the United States, and commemorate the best of the republic that we are all sworn to protect.”
“I am committed to implementing all of the commission’s recommendations as soon as possible,” Austin said, adding that this will happen when a 90-day waiting period expires in December.
The military bases to be renamed are: Fort Benning in Georgia, Fort Bragg in North Carolina, Fort Gordon in Georgia, Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia, Fort Lee in Virginia, Fort Pickett in Virginia, Fort Hood in Texas, Fort Polk in Louisiana, and Fort Rucker in Alabama.
The changes “will give proud new names that are rooted in their local communities and that honor American heroes whose valor, courage, and patriotism exemplify the very best of the United States military,” Austin wrote.
A string of nationwide protests across the United States in 2020 in response to police brutality and the murder of George Floyd prompted calls to rename the bases.
Former President Donald Trump opposed the costly renaming procedure and vetoed the bill that triggered the process, stating in 2020 that the names had “become part of a Great American Heritage, and a history of Winning, Victory, and Freedom.” A bipartisan majority in each chamber overrode it.
It will cost an estimated $21 million to rename the nine bases and $62.5 million to fully implement the recommendations laid out in the report, according to the naming commission.