Army leaders are reviewing the Marine Corps’ new policy banning Confederate flags and are considering a similar move, a defense official told Military.com. No decision has been made, the official added, but discussions are underway on the matter. Army officials acknowledged earlier this week that the service’s secretary, Ryan McCarthy, was considering changing the names of bases honoring Confederate leaders.
The Navy announced on Tuesday that its top admiral directed his staff to craft an order prohibiting the Confederate battle flag on public spaces and work areas on installations, ships, aircraft and submarines.
“The order is meant to ensure unit cohesion, preserve good order and discipline, and uphold the Navy’s core values of honor, courage and commitment,” Cmdr. Nate Christensen, spokesman for Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday, said.
The Marine Corps recently made official a policy banning Confederate flags that has been in the works since February. The Air Force has not returned a request for comment on whether it’s reviewing the issue.
Top military leaders have been addressing the issue of racism in the ranks following the nation’s unrest after George Floyd, a black man, died in police custody in Minnesota last month. In a recent letter to the force, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville and Sergeant Major of the Army Michael Grinston said they are committed to treating everyone with dignity and respect.
“Our ability to defend this country from all enemies, foreign and domestic, is founded upon a sacred trust with the American people,” they wrote. “Racial division erodes that trust.”
Former military leaders, including retired Gen. David Petraeus have applauded the Army’s willingness to consider renaming iconic Army bases in the wake of Floyd’s death. The changes could affect iconic Army bases, such as Forts Bragg and Benning.
Col. Sunset Belinsky, an Army spokeswoman at the Pentagon, said McCarthy and Defense Secretary Mark Esper are open to a bipartisan discussion on the issue.
“Each Army installation is named for a soldier who has a significant place in our military history,” Belinsky added. “Accordingly, the historic names represent individuals, not causes or ideologies.”
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