June 24, 2020

Duckworth, Durbin, Warren & Colleagues Introduce Legislation to Rename All Military Bases & Other Assets Named for Confederacy

This Month, Republican-led Senate Armed Services Committee Passed Bipartisan Proposal to Rename Bases and All Military Assets within Three Years


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Combat Veteran and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), a member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, and U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today joined U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and 33 Senate Democrats in introducing legislation to require the Pentagon to remove all names, symbols, displays, monuments, and paraphernalia that honor or commemorate the Confederate States of America and anyone who voluntarily served it from all military bases and other assets of the Department of Defense. Under this legislation that was announced in advance of the annual defense bill vote on the Senate floor, the Pentagon must rename the assets within one year. Duckworth recently penned an op-ed in TIME about the need to stop honoring traitors to our country and the important role that renaming these bases and military assets could play in promoting unit cohesion. 

“Honoring the ‘lost cause’ of those who waged war against America to defend their right to own, sell and kill Black Americans has no place in our nation, especially the U.S. Armed Forces, which fought to a deadly war to eliminate the barbaric practice of slavery,” Duckworth said. “I’m proud to be working with Senator Warren and Senator Durbin on this effort to stop honoring traitors who took up arms against America by finally changing the names of our bases and other military assets.”

“Centuries later, we are still grappling with the deep wounds slavery and the Civil War inflicted on the Black community and our nation.  Military bases named after Confederate leaders are shameful and disparaging to the Black servicemen and women, past and present, who have sacrificed for our country,” said Durbin. “If we’re to move forward toward a more equitable society built on racial justice, we must rename the military bases that commemorate confederate leaders who committed treasonous atrocities in order to preserve slavery.”

“Senate Democrats are putting forward legislation to change the names of our bases and other military assets within one year because we need to stop honoring this ugly legacy immediately,” said Senator Warren. “SASC has already passed a version of my proposal in the annual defense bill -- and Senate Republicans should make sure that bipartisan compromise stays intact.” 


The Removing Confederate Names and Symbols from Our Military Act would: 

  • Require the Secretary of Defense to remove all names, symbols, displays, monuments, and paraphernalia that honor or commemorate the Confederate States of America or any person who served voluntarily with the Confederate States of America from all assets of the Department of Defense. Grave markers will be exempted.
  • Define the term ‘‘asset’’ to include any base, installation, street, building, facility, aircraft, ship, plane, weapon, equipment, or any other property owned or controlled by the Department of Defense.
  • Require the Secretary of Defense to submit a certification in writing to SASC and the House Armed Services Committee detailing that removal has been completed.
  • Prohibit the future display of any name, symbol, display, monument or paraphernalia that honors or commemorates the Confederate States of America or any person who served voluntarily. 

In early June, Senator Duckworth wrote to the leaders of the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Coast Guard and National Guard Bureau to call on each of them to prohibit the display of the Confederate Battle Flag. Duckworth and Durbin also joined U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and U.S. Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) in re-introducing a bicameral bill last week in the Senate and House to remove Confederate statues from the U.S. Capitol.

U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Michael Bennet (D-CO.), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Bernard Sanders (I-VT), Robert Casey (D-PA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Patty Murray (D-WA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Martin Heinrich (D-NM0, Tom Udall (D-NM), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Tina Smith (D-MN), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chris Coons (D-CT), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Jacky Rosen (D-NV) also helped introduce this legislation.