Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy signal openness to renaming US Army bases that honor Confederate leaders

cdavis@insider.com (Charles Davis)
·3 min read
AP_18169768417713
Members of the Mississippi Poor People's Campaign burn a Confederate battle flag at the Governor's Mansion in Jackson, Miss., Monday, June 18, 2018. The protesters also burned a Mississippi state flag. The campaign, held the last of its weekly protests in Jackson, joining a nationwide effort that called for lawmakers and statewide elected officials to address the need for union rights, living wages, fully funded anti-poverty programs and properly fund public education.

AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

  • US Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy will consider removing Confederate names from military installations, multiple sources reported on Monday. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper also signaled his support, according to CNN's Barbara Starr.

  • "The Secretary of the Army is open to a bipartisan discussion on the topic," Army spokesperson Col. Sunset Belinsky told Politico.

  • The move is a reversal, coming after two weeks of nationwide protests against police killings and systemic racism.

  • In February, Army officials insisted they had "no plans to rename any street or installation, including those named for Confederate generals," the Army Times reported.

  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The US Army will consider renaming bases that honor Confederate leaders, a spokesperson said Monday.

"The Secretary of the Army is open to a bipartisan discussion on the topic," Army spokesperson Col. Sunset Belinsky told Politico.

According to CNN's Barbara Starr, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper is also open to dialogue about changing the names, and the initial statement was updated.

"The Secretary of Defense and Secretary of the Army are open to a bi-partisan discussion on the topic," Lt. Col. Emanuel L. Ortiz, Army spokesman told The Dallas Morning News.

Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy was appointed to his position by US President Donald Trump and confirmed by the US Senate in September 2019. He previously worked at Lockheed Martin.

The willingness to at least discuss renaming bases is a significant reversal for the military, coming after two weeks of nationwide protests over police killings and systemic racism. In February, Army officials insisted they had "no plans to rename any street or installation, including those named for Confederate generals," the Army Times reported.

At the time, those officials defended the use of Confederate names, telling the Army Times it was "done in a spirit of reconciliation, not to demonstrate support for any particular cause or ideology."

On Monday, an Army official made a similar argument to CNN, saying "each Army installation is named for a soldier who holds a significant place in our military history." Therefore, the official maintained, "the historic names represent individuals, not causes."

The US Army's Fort Bragg in North Carolina, for example, is named after Braxton Bragg, a Confederate general and advisor to Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy.

Earlier this year, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger ordered all "Confederate-related paraphernalia" removed from Marine bases.

Have a news tip? Email this reporter: cdavis@insider.com

Read the original article on Business Insider