WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Pentagon said it does not expect to rename military bases honoring Confederate military leaders.
“As of now, there’s no discussion of adjusting our current naming policy,” Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters on Wednesday.
His comments came amid calls across the U.S. to remove the Confederate flag from public places. The massacre at a Charleston, South Carolina church carried out by Dylann Roof, an avowed white supremacist, sparked a national debate on the Confederate flag. Nine African-Americans were killed in the attack.
Reporters asked Col. Warren about the Army naming several bases in the South after Confederate generals.
Brig. Gen. Malcolm B. Frost, chief of Army public affairs, said in a statement that those bases were named “in the spirit of reconciliation, not division.”
“Every Army installation is named for a soldier who holds a place in our military history. Accordingly, these historic names represent individuals, not causes or ideologies,” he added.
Various news outlets note that there are 10 U.S. Army bases named after Confederate leaders.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, a Republican, called for the removal of the Confederate flag from the state capitol grounds in Columbia.
Alabama’s Republican Gov. Robert Bentley followed suit, ordering four Confederate flags be removed from a monument to Confederate soldiers outside the state capitol in Montgomery.
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), along with other officials, called for a redesign of the state flag, the last in the U.S. to include the Confederate flag.
Virginia’s Democrat Gov. Terry McAuliff called for the removal of the Confederate flag from state license plates.
Louis Farrakhan said, “We need to put the American flag down. Because we’ve caught as much hell under that as the Confederate flag.”