There are some misconceptions about Army Flag Regulation. I’ve seen debates about flagging actions when entering competitions, receiving trophies, and getting awards.
Flagging action is not regulated by AR 600-8-22, which is the regulation that governs military awards, but rather by AR 600-8-2 Flag Regulation.
- The AR 600-8-2 title is Suspension of Favorable Personnel Actions (Flag).
- Army Flag Regulation 600-8-2 addresses the suspension of favorable personnel actions (flags).
The AR 600-8-2 regulation outlines the policies and procedures for suspending favorable personnel actions or “Flags” under the Army personnel system.
- A Flag represents the suspension of favorable personnel actions for a soldier.
- Favorable actions can include promotions, reenlistments, awards, etc.
Table: Key sections of Army Flag Regulation AR 600-8-2
|Paragraph 1-17||States that individuals whose favorable action has been suspended cannot be recommended for or receive an award during the time of suspension.|
|Paragraph 2-1||Outlines actions prohibited by a flag, including promotions, lateral promotions, advancements, and fraternizing.|
Understanding Army Flag Regulation
- “Flag” refers to the suspension of favorable personnel actions for a soldier.
- Flags are not punishments but administrative actions used to maintain order and discipline.
- It prevents soldiers from progressing in their careers until specific issues are resolved.
AR 600-8-2 Flag Regulations
AR 600-8-2 Flag Regulations outline the following:
|Types of Flags||There are two types of flags: “Reportable” and “Non-reportable.”|
|Reasons||Outlines the reasons a flag can be imposed and removed.|
|Roles & Responsibilities||Defines the roles and responsibilities of individuals involved in the flagging process.|
|Review & Validation||Describes the process for reviewing and validating flags.|
|Transfer Policies||Provides information on the transfer policies for flagged soldiers.|
Types of Flags
- Reportable Flags: These are recorded in the personnel system and become part of the soldier’s record.
- Non-reportable Flags: These are not input into the personnel system.
Reasons for Flagging
- Failure to meet Physical Fitness Standards: If a soldier fails the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) or fails to take it within the required time frame.
- Failure to meet Weight Control Standards: Soldiers must meet specific weight standards. Failure to do so may result in a Flag.
- Pending disciplinary action: Any soldier with a pending disciplinary action may be flagged.
- Under investigation: Soldiers under investigation for potential wrongdoings may be flagged.
- Adverse action pending: A soldier has adverse action pending, such as administrative separation.
Roles and Responsibilities in the Flagging Process
- Commanders, the State Adjutant General (for ARNGUS), and the Director, ARNG (for ARNGUS), have specific roles and responsibilities in the flagging process.
- It’s the role of the commanders to ensure all soldiers in their command receive orientation on the flagging policy.
- The State Adjutant General will identify in writing those who can impose, transfer, and remove Flags for the ARNGUS.
Review and Validation Process for Flags
- The Army must review a flag within three working days for accuracy, sufficiency, and compliance with policy and procedure.
- The flag remains in effect until the flagging authority removes it.
Flag Transfer Policies
- Soldiers may transfer between commands while flagged for ACFT or height and weight failure.
- Soldiers flagged for ACFT or height and weight failure may move to a deployed environment with their unit.
Removal of Flags
- Only the authority who directed the initiation of a flag or a successor in command may direct the flag’s removal.
- The flag will be removed within three working days after the soldier’s status changes from unfavorable to favorable.
Tips for Flagged Soldiers and Their Leaders
- If you are a flagged soldier, the best way to avoid this predicament is to participate in your unit satisfactorily. This way, you won’t have to worry about what applies to you and what does not.
- As a leader, especially a senior leader, it’s crucial that you familiarize yourself with the Army AR 600-8-2 Flag Regulation.
- Understanding it well is even more important because it has changed over the past couple of years.
- The changes have removed specific criteria for flagging a soldier or recommending a soldier be flagged and added additional categories for which a soldier can be flagged.
Consequences of Flags
- While a flag is in place, the Army will not reassign you or allocate you any military course or school.
- The Army will bar your reenlistment and not promote you.
Refer to the most recent AR 800-8-2 version for the most accurate and updated information.
Misconceptions and Clarifications about Flagging
During my interactions, I’ve encountered arguments suggesting that the local commander has the authority to determine whether or not a soldier receives recognition or some other favorable action.
Others argue that the state regulation on awards trumps the federal regulation on awards, but that’s not how it works. This is not an award regulation matter. This is about a suspension of favorable actions.
Conclusion and Call to Action
- Flagging action is not a punishment tool but a corrective measure tool where the Army tracks soldiers in a formal system to ensure they meet or exceed the standard.
- You should avoid the negative perception of flagging actions; instead, understand their real essence.
Avoid flags, and you won’t have to worry about these issues.