Defense Secretary Mark Esper has issued guidance for flags allowed on military installations. It does not explicitly ban the Confederate battle flag but provides criteria for allowable flags.

“Flags are powerful symbols, particularly in the military community for whom flags embody common mission, common histories, and the special, timeless bond of warriors,” Esper wrote in a memo, adding “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’s guidance narrows down the types of flags that can be displayed. They include flags or banners of U.S. states, territories and the District of Columbia, flags of the military services, as well as those of generals or admirals and civilian political appointees, plus flags representing the positions of Senior Executive Service employees, the Prisoner of War/Missing in Action flag, flags of countries that are allies or partners of the United States — but only when displayed for official purposes — flags of organizations the U.S. belongs to, including NATO, the United Nations and ceremonial flags representing units or branches.

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