Military bases, ships can’t be named for Confederacy under defense spending bill

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Pentagon leaders would be blocked from naming any of the Defense Department’s assets -- including military bases and ships -- in honor of the Confederacy, according to an amendment inserted into the House defense spending bill Wednesday. 

The amendment, would not change any names already in place on military installations, ships or other Pentagon assets and would only apply to any future names. 

It specifically prohibits naming any Department of Defense asset “after a person who served or held a leadership position in the Confederacy” and “a city or battlefield made significant by a Confederate victory.” An earlier version of the amendment also included blocking any name “that would otherwise be racially or ethnically insensitive.”  

The Army has at least 10 installations -- including two of the largest by troop population, Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Fort Hood in Texas -- named for Confederate commanders. None of the other branches of the Armed Services have installations named in honor of members of the Confederacy, but some Navy ships bear the names of Confederate leaders or battles. 

The measure was approved without objection by House lawmakers during debate on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on the floor Wednesday. Senate leaders, who moved their version of the NDAA forward already, did not include any language on the subject. The amendment passed as part of a package of 34 amendments deemed “non-controversial” by House leaders which also included: 

  • Expanding infertility treatment to all troops
  • Directing DoD to report on the number of waivers received by transgender troops
  • Ensuring all methods of contraception are available to service members through TRICARE without copays
  • Preventing VA from using the fact that a veteran’s income is from a state-legalized marijuana industry as a factor in determining whether to issue a VA home loan
  • Requiring a military pay raise beginning Jan. 1, 2020 “even if the president attempts to change it”
  • Requiring DoD to brief veterans during their transition assistance program counseling on how to file claims and where to send paperwork when they transition out of the military
  • Add names of 73 crew members of the USS Frank E. Evans killed in 1969 to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall
  • Requiring DoD, VA and Coast Guard to work together on a joint strategy for operating TRICARE and the MISSION Act
  • Requiring DoD and VA to report to Congress on providing financial literacy education to troops and veterans

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Follow Abbie Bennett, @AbbieRBennett.