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Fort Polk name submissions from the public are closed

Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 7:23 PM CST
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FORT POLK, La. (KALB) - Fort Polk is being renamed and the opportunity to suggest a new name for the post is over. The question now is: What happens next?

The naming commission will have until October 1, 2022, to submit a report to Congress that includes a list of places that will have to be renamed due to their relation to the Confederacy, which includes Fort Polk. The costs to rename will also be added to the report. Colonel Sam Smith, the Fort Polk Garrison Commander, attended the meeting and said the work is getting started after the commission presents their findings next October.

“They’re going to provide it to the House Armed Services Committee and the Senate Armed Services Committee by October 2022,” Colonel Smith said. “Congress will have approximately 90 days to review that. Then they’ll submit their full proposal to the Secretary of Defense to review. Then the Secretary of Defense will have some time to look at it, review it and implement it in 2023.”

According to the National Defense Authorization Act signed by President Biden this year, the Secretary of Defense is expected to “implement a plan submitted by the commission” no later than January 1, 2024.

Locally, the community has expressed mixed feelings to leaders about the change. Some have accepted the fact it’s happening, while others don’t feel it’s worth the process.

“Everybody locally seems to have the same consensus about the whole thing,” Leesville Mayor Rick Allen said. “They think it’s a frivolous waste of money.”

“There are some people that say, ‘well, figured it was coming,’” State Representative Charles Owen said. “But, I have others who are saying ‘why are we wasting government time, money and effort doing this?’ A lot of people say ‘don’t we have better things to do?’”

Command Sergeant Major Michael Henry said that they value and understand they are part of the process. There was an understanding between the naming commission and community leaders on how this process works to make sure it runs smoothly.

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