As a leader, you a responsible for the discipline of your unit. From my personal experience, I’ve found that FLAGS are a very effective way to handle discipline in a unit. Of course, it shouldn’t be your first course of action (for most incidents). But, it is a great way to enforce the Army Standards, let your soldiers know you are serious, and correct poor performance.
When it comes to personnel flags, there are lots of things you can and cannot do. That’s why you should spend some time and educate yourself about the process, before you ever initiate a flag. You can start by reading AR 600-8-2. This regulation is short and to the point. It’s about 33-pages long. It covers just about every aspect about personnel flags to include:
- The Flagging Process
- Types of Personnel Flags
- Actions prohibited by a Flag
- Rules and steps for initiating, managing and transferring a flag
- Removing a Flag
- SIDPERS Transactions, Responsibilities and Reports
I would also recommend that you sit down with your Battalion S1 to learn from their experience. If possible, bring your First Sergeant and full-time staff with you so they are aware of the process too. Once you gain a basic understanding of the rules and process, make sure you share that knowledge with your subordinate leaders too. It might even be a good idea to schedule a NCODP or OPD about this topic.
Next, I’d like to share a few tips with you about Personnel Flags. This tips come from my personal experience and from AR 600-8-2.
- A flag should be initiated any time a soldier’s performance goes from favorable to unfavorable
- Flag cases should be reviewed monthly
- When a soldier’s status returns to favorable, the flag should be removed immediately
- The two types of flags are transferable and non-transferable
- Common reasons for a non-transferable flag include court-martial, AWOL, administrative reduction, local security violation, removal from command or promotion list, and several other reasons.
- Common reasons for a transferable flag include failure to pass the APFT, soldiers who are command referred into the Army Substance Abuse Program, soldiers in the weight control program, and more.
- When you receive a flag you are ineligible for promotion, reenlistment, reassignment, awards, schools, retirement, advanced or excess leave, bonuses, assumption of command and more.
- APFT failure flags block promotion, reenlistment and extension only.
- Soldiers cannot be retained past their ETS because they are flagged.
Once again, these are just a few of the basic things you need to know about flagging actions. I highly recommend you read AR 600-8-2 to educate yourself about the rest of the rules and procedures.
In conclusion, every small unit leader and Company Commander should read AR 600-8-2 to familiarize themselves with the suspension of favorable personnel actions (flags). This is a very effective tool for commanders to enforce the Army Standards, handle discipline in their unit and correct poor performance. When used effectively, it is a great way to rehabilitate behavior and let your soldiers know you are serious.
Do you have any questions or comments relating to AR 600-8-2? Just post them below.