Pentagon bans foreign-made flags
American flags made overseas will be prohibited at U.S. military bases around the world under new rules from the Department of Defense.
The Defense Department is moving to purchase only American-made flags for use by the military in response to congressional requirements.
DOD spokesman Mark Wright called the new rule a “symbol of our national pride.”
“It’s a measure of the level of patriotism within our military to know the flag they salute, flying over that ship or over that base, was made within the United States,” Wright said.
The military will now be required to purchase only American-made flags that are produced entirely in the U.S., from the threads to the ink to the assembly.
However, the rule will not apply to flagpoles and other components used to hang a flag.
Auggie Tantillo, president of the National Council of Textile Organizations, which represents U.S. flag manufacturers, said it’s the “right thing to do.”
“It’s not as if American flags can’t be made here or that somehow the United States doesn’t know how to make these flags,” Tantillo said. “We should be the first choice when it comes to supplying the U.S. government.”
Buying American-made flags runs deeper than the symbolism, Tantillo said. He pointed out that it will also have a ripple effect on the economy and create jobs here.
U.S. manufacturers sell $300 million in American flags each year, said Reggie VandenBosch, chairman of the Flag Manufacturers Association of America.
“There are a lot of American flags that are available for cheaper outside the U.S., but they’re not necessarily built to our standards,” VandenBosch said.
VandenBosch suggested it would be “offensive” for the military to purchase foreign-made American flags for the troops.
“This reflects the attitude of not only members of the military, but also the American public,” he said.
The Defense Department is responding to congressional appropriations requirements that prohibit the military from using government funds to purchase foreign-made flags. The policy was first noted in a DOD memo last year, but military is now moving to codify the proposed rule by publishing it in the Federal Register.
The rule will apply to official flags purchased by the military with government funds, but soldiers will still be allowed to purchase foreign-made American flags with their own money.
Previously, the military would purchase flags from American stores, but they would not check to see where they were made.
These same rules already apply to other pieces of military equipment like uniforms and boots to not only ensure American symbolism, but also protect soldiers.
However, other government agencies are not subject to the flag rules.
“Of all the items manufactured in the U.S., the American flag has the most emotional connection,” VandenBosch said.
“If we’re making our own flags, there’s still hope for lots of other things,” he said
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