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Austin Announces Members of Base-Naming Commission

Feb. 12, 2021 | BY David Vergun , DOD News

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III announced today the Defense Department's representatives to the Congressionally-mandated commission on the naming of items in the department that commemorate the Confederacy.

"I am pleased to announce today the names of four outstanding leaders who have agreed to serve," he said in a statement.

Retired Navy Adm. Michelle Howard; retired Marine Corps Gen. Bob Neller; Dr. Kori Schake, director of Foreign & Defense Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute; and retired Army Brig. Gen. Ty Seidule, emeritus professor of history, U.S. Military Academy, will serve on what's commonly called the Confederate Base Naming Commission.

A large welcome sign bears the name of Fort Hood, Texas.
Welcome Sign
The main gate at Fort Hood can be seen on South Fort Hood Street in Killeen, Texas. Fort Hood is one of a number of Army bases named for Confederate generals.
Photo By: Army
VIRIN: 200724-F-PO640-0002M

"Each of these individuals possesses unique and relevant experience in and out of government that I know will inform this important effort. I am enormously grateful for their willingness to serve the nation again, and I thank them in advance for the wise counsel I am confident they will provide," Austin stated.

"I also thank the Congress for establishing this process, and I continue to pledge my personal commitment — and that of the department — to making sure it succeeds. I look forward to seeing the results of the commission's work in the months ahead," he added.

U.S.-India Exercise

In other news today, Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby announced the start of an important exercise with India. The announcement was made during a Pentagon press briefing today.

A man speaks.
Kirby Speaks
Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby speaks at a Pentagon press briefing, Feb. 12, 2021.
Photo By: Air Force Staff Sgt. Jack Sanders, DOD
VIRIN: 210212-D-XI929-1112


Exercise Yudh Abhyas 20 kicked off in India this week. The exercise, sponsored by the U.S. Army Pacific, involves about 250 U.S. military service members and 250 Indian soldiers and is designed to enhance combined interoperability capabilities through training and cultural exchange, Kirby said.
Service members stand in formation.
Formation Photo
The Indian army's 11th Jammu and Kashmir Rifles Battalion and the U.S. Army's 2-3 Infantry Battalion kick off the bilateral Exercise Yudh Abhyas with an opening ceremony in India, Feb. 8, 2021.
Photo By: Army Staff Sgt. Joseph Tolliver
VIRIN: 210208-A-RI070-908
Military service members stand in formation.
Formation Photo
The Indian army's 11th Jammu and Kashmir Rifles Battalion and the U.S. Army's 2-3 Infantry Battalion kick off the bilateral Exercise Yudh Abhyas with an opening ceremony in India, Feb. 8, 2021.
Photo By: Army Staff Sgt. Joseph Tolliver
VIRIN: 210208-A-RI070-892

"This exercise continues to solidify the U.S.-India major defense partnership and advances cooperation in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific region," he added.

Five of seven treaty alliances are in the Indo-Pacific region, Kirby mentioned. He said there's a "sharp focus" on that entire region, particularly with threats in the South China Sea.