Secretary of Agricuilture ordering flags to half staff

Discussion in 'Half Mast / Half Staff' started by bunnybuster, Jul 25, 2009.

  1. bunnybuster

    bunnybuster New Member

    A heli-rappeller for for the Forest Service died in a training accident this week.

    The Secretary of Agriculture directed that all flags on Forest Service facilities be flown at half staff for 5-days.

    I'm pretty sure that the Secretary has overstepped his authority.

    Add to that: I am a little miffed, at the special consideration given because this was a fire fighter. They would not consider lowering the flag if it was a kid on a trails crew, who got killed.
  2. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Hello, Bunnybuster, welcome to the forum!

    I'm pretty sure that the Secretary has overstepped his authority.

    No, actually he has not. The presidental proclamation that implemented the rules for half-staffing the flag for federal departments (Proclamation 3044 of 1 March 1954), said:

    "The heads of the several departments and agencies of the Government may direct that the flag of the United States be flown at half-staff on buildings, grounds, or naval vessels under their jurisdiction on occasions other than those specified herein which they consider proper, and that suitable military honors be rendered as appropriate."

    Each of the Government departments has its own regulations that implement this presidental proclamation. For Agriculture, it's Department Regulation 5160-005 of 28 April 2008. By this regulation, the Secretary of Agriculture further delegates authority to half-staff flags to agency heads within the Department.

    (Another recent example of the application of the presidential proclamation was the death of former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. The proclamation does not specify half-staffing for former Secretaries of Defense, but the applicable DoD directive does.)

    Peter Ansoff
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2009

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