DOD mulling ban on Confederate flag at all US bases: reports

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The Pentagon is working on a policy that would ban the display of Confederate flags at military bases, according to multiple reports on Monday.

The draft policy, if put into effect, would ban the flag’s display in Department of Defense (DOD) workplaces or public areas by service members and civilian personnel, The Associated Press reported.

And CNN reported that military legal personnel are reviewing how such a departmentwide ban can be carried out and that a decision will come soon.

Pentagon officials declined to comment to The Hill on such a draft.

The possible directive comes after President Trump earlier in the day criticized NASCAR on Twitter over its decision to ban the flag at its venues, saying the move had led to lower ratings.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany repeatedly dodged questions about Trump’s tweet, saying at a Monday press conference that the president was not “making a judgment one way or the other” on whether NASCAR was wrong to ban the Confederate flag from its events. 

Trump has also repeatedly defended the preservation of Confederate statues and pushed back on renaming military bases named for Confederate officers. He has threatened to veto a massive defense policy bill over the inclusion of a bipartisan amendment that would rename such installations, though defense leaders have publicly supported such a change.

Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told reporters late last month that top Pentagon leaders were working on a DOD-wide policy for confederate symbols.

“Obviously the commander in chief put out specific guidance related to bases. … Looking at what is the uniform policy for confederate symbols, we’re working with the Office of the Secretary of Defense on a policy related to that,” McCarthy said.

The draft DOD policy in question would put in place a ban to preserve “the morale of our personnel, good order and discipline within the military ranks and unit cohesion,” the AP reported.

A “significant” number of service members and their families are minorities, and “it is beyond doubt” that many “take grave offense at such a display,” according to the draft.

Officials told the AP that the draft was sent out to service leaders last week for their input and response.

If implemented, the policy would follow the directives of the Marine Corps and U.S. Forces Korea, which have already banned the display of the Confederate battle flag. The Navy has also said it plans to do so.  

The Army, meanwhile, has said it was open to renaming its 10 bases named for Confederates.

In Congress, the House Armed Services Committee last week approved an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to ban the display of the Confederate battle flag on all Pentagon property.

The Senate’s version of the NDAA already includes a requirement to rename bases and other property within three years. 

Tags Confederate flag Donald Trump Ryan McCarthy
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