Amid racial protests across the country, the Pentagon announced a ban on displays of the Confederate flag at military bases. Defense Secretary Mark Esper signed a memo on the issue on Thursday night.
The policy, obtained by the Associated Press, lays out the list of flags allowed at military installations. The memo does not directly mention the Confederate Flag. However, it does not make the list of permissible flags.
In the memo, Esper writes about removing flags as well as any symbols that could potentially sow discord. “We must always remain focused on what unifies us, our sworn oath to the Constitution and our shared duty to defend the nation,” the memo reads. “The flags we fly must accord with the military imperatives of good order and discipline, treating all our people with dignity and respect, and rejecting divisive symbols.”
Esper writes about four acceptable types of flags. The ones deemed acceptable include the U.S. and state banners, flags of other allies and partners, the widely displayed POW/MIA flag, and official military unit flags. In the memo, Esper also states that displays of unauthorized flags should be reserved for specific locations. Those places include museums, historical exhibits, or other educational programs.
For weeks, military leaders struggled to find solutions. Back in June, the Marine Corps commandant, Gen. David Berger, banned the Confederate Flag. The other branches of military also moved to enact similar bans. However, Esper aims to make a consistent policy across all branches.
President Trump on the Confederate Flag Controversy
In addition to the ban on the Confederate Flag, some Americans want the names of some military bases changed. Last month, President Donald Trump voiced his stance against the idea of name changes.
On June 10, President Trump took to Twitter to address the issue. “It has been suggested that we should rename as many as 10 of our Legendary Military Bases, such as Fort Bragg in North Carolina, Fort Hood in Texas, Fort Benning in Georgia, etc,” he wrote. The President then added how many bases hold a rich history of “winning, victory, and freedom.”
“The United States of America trained and deployed our HEROES on these Hallowed Grounds, and won two World Wars,” he continued. “Therefore, my Administration will not even consider the renaming of these Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations..”
[H/T Associated Press]