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Reports: Pentagon drafting Confederate flag ban for all services and bases

Confederate Flag in Biloxi, Miss. (edward stojakovic/Flickr)
July 07, 2020

The Pentagon is drafting a policy to ban the display of the Confederate flag across all Department of Defense bases and facilities and civilian workplaces.

A draft of the proposed flag ban, which is not yet finalized or signed by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, has been circulating throughout the Pentagon on Monday, according to The Associated Press, and also reported by CNN. The proposed flag policy would bring all of the military branches and DOD services into line with the flag bans already instituted within the U.S. Marine Corps.

In June, the Marines put their flag ban into effect, ordering the controversial flag removed from all public spaces and work areas on Marine bases and installations, as well as images of the flag displayed on other items such as shirts, mugs and stickers. Some displays of the flag are still permitted, such as works of art, educational or historic displays where the Confederate flag is present, but not the primary focus.

“The Confederate battle flag has all too often been co-opted by violent extremist and racist groups whose divisive beliefs have no place in our Corps,” the Marine order states. “Our history as a nation, and events like the violence in Charlottesville in 2017, highlight the divisiveness the use of the Confederate battle flag has had on our society.”

The U.S. Navy also indicated in June that it was considering a similar service-wide ban on displays of the flag. Also last month, U.S. Forces Korea banned the display of the Confederate flag in workspaces and common areas on U.S. military bases in South Korea. The U.S. Coast Guard is also reportedly facing pressure to implement its own Confederate flag ban.

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If the Pentagon order were to go into effect, all U.S. military branches would see a similar policy on the flag.

Officials who spoke to the AP about the draft policy said the draft was sent out to service leaders last week for their input.

It was not clear if President Donald Trump or his White House had any input in the review process, although Trump has opposed discussions of renaming U.S. military bases bearing the names of Confederate leaders.