American flag

Defense Department proposes ban of foreign-made flags at military bases

U.S. military bases around the world soon may have to make sure the American flags they fly are American-made.

A new rule proposed by the Department of Defense would bar the military from using department funds for “the purchase or manufacture of a flag of the United States, unless such flag is manufactured in the United States.” The rule would require every facet of the flag, from the materials to the construction, to originate within the country.

“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,” Department of Defense spokesman Mark Wright said, according to a report from The Hill.

The rules would amend the Berry Amendment — which prohibits the use of Defense Department funds for the “procurement of food, clothing, fabrics, fibers, yarns, other made-up textiles, and hand or measuring tools that are not grown, reprocessed, reused, or produced in the United States” — to include the U.S. flag. Congress originally added source restrictions for the military in 1941 under the Fifth Supplemental DoD Appropriations Act “in order to protect the domestic industry base in the time of war,” according to the International Trade Administration.

The proposed rule was posted to the Federal Register, the official journal of the U.S. government, last week. The proposal is open for comment until April 27, after which it will be considered to become a final rule.

According to the Flag Manufacturers Association of America, $302.7 million worth of U.S. flags are sold by domestic manufacturers each year.