The new guidance governs the depiction and display of flags on military installations. While the policy doesn’t specifically mention the Confederate battle flag, the flag is not listed among the flags that are permitted to be displayed.
There has recently been an ongoing debate about the display of the Confederate battle flag and whether military installations named paying homage to Confederate officers should be renamed. President Donald Trump is against renaming said military bases.
Some military services, including the Marine Corps, have already banned the display of the Confederate battle flag. NASCAR has also banned the display of the flag at its events. Mississippi has also recently made plans to remove the Confederate symbol from its state flag.
“I am committed to fielding the most powerful military force the world has known by strengthening the bonds of our most valuable resource — our people. That is why we honor the American flag, which is the principal flag we are authorized and encouraged to display,” Esper said in the memo.
“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.”
On Friday morning, Esper presented the guidance to senior Defense Department leaders and commanders. He also noted that flags are powerful symbols, particularly in the military community for whom flags embody common mission, common histories, and the special, timeless bonds of warriors, according to a Pentagon statement.
The new guidance is applicable to public displays or depictions of flags by service members and civilian employees in all Department of Defense workplaces, common access areas, and public areas.
Glennisha Morgan is a Detroit-bred multimedia journalist and writer. She writes about intersectionality, hip-hop, pop culture, queer issues, race, feminism, and her truth. Follow her on Twitter @GlennishaMorgan.