Arlington – Maybe Not Your Final Resting Place?

UPDATE: 5/10/2018: New information regarding burial eligibility at Arlington National Cemetery.

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November 4, 2016

For veterans of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, even a Medal of Honor may not guarantee a spot in Arlington National Cemetery. 

That's according to a report by Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) staff. 

Over the last several months, the Advisory Committee on Arlington National Cemetery (ACANC), an independent federal advisory committee, has been meeting to discuss ways to address the remaining capacity at ANC. 

Because the committee's stated goal is to keep ANC active for centuries to come, one of the options being discussed is to drastically limit eligibility in the near term. 

Current rules permit anyone with an honorable discharged and with at least one day of active duty service to be interred or inurned at ANC. That's a looser eligibility standard than used for other veteran cemeteries, which can require at least 24 months' service. 

The cemetery presently is undergoing two expansion projects to add 27 acres, which will be completed next year. Plans underway (but not finalized) are expected to add another 40 acres, to be completed in 2022. 

With these additions, the date by which ANC would reach capacity at current burial rates would be extended from 2041 to 2050. 

Additional expansion is an option, but it won't be easy and could be expensive (e.g., annexing part of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall or purchasing private property). 

According to the report presented to the committee, the cemetery could remain open until 2337 if it is able to partially expand, and if eligibility is restricted to active duty deaths and for veterans with certain qualifying awards (e.g., Medal of Honor) in the very near future.

If retirees remain eligible, the cemetery will reach maximum capacity in 2072. 

“MOAA would like to see ANC remain open and active well into the future. We don't have a problem reserving a set number of plots for future Medal of Honor recipients and combat deaths. But we don't think an 80-year old retiree who's made plans for Arlington burial should lose eligibility to reserve space for an active duty member who dies in a car accident 150 or 200 years from now,” said MOAA Government Relations VP Col. Steve Strobridge, USAF (Ret). 

“A lot can change over 50 or 75 years. The Pentagon hadn't been built 75 years ago, and lots of military installations have been BRACed over the last 35. MOAA and other military and veterans association have told the committee we think all options for further expansion should be pursued before we start turning away older vets who planned for ANC interment. We know procuring land can take a long time, so that process should start sooner rather than later.” 

The ANC staff is developing a report outlining options for the Secretary of the Army, and the committee's report is due to Congress in a few weeks. MOAA will continue working with ANC staff and Congress, but we want to make sure your inputs are adequately represented.

Help us by completing MOAA's five-minute ANC survey

 

 

UPDATE: 5/10/2018: New information regarding burial eligibility at Arlington National Cemetery.

--

November 4, 2016

For veterans of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, even a Medal of Honor may not guarantee a spot in Arlington National Cemetery. 

That's according to a report by Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) staff. 

Over the last several months, the Advisory Committee on Arlington National Cemetery (ACANC), an independent federal advisory committee, has been meeting to discuss ways to address the remaining capacity at ANC. 

Because the committee's stated goal is to keep ANC active for centuries to come, one of the options being discussed is to drastically limit eligibility in the near term. 

Current rules permit anyone with an honorable discharged and with at least one day of active duty service to be interred or inurned at ANC. That's a looser eligibility standard than used for other veteran cemeteries, which can require at least 24 months' service. 

The cemetery presently is undergoing two expansion projects to add 27 acres, which will be completed next year. Plans underway (but not finalized) are expected to add another 40 acres, to be completed in 2022. 

With these additions, the date by which ANC would reach capacity at current burial rates would be extended from 2041 to 2050. 

Additional expansion is an option, but it won't be easy and could be expensive (e.g., annexing part of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall or purchasing private property). 

According to the report presented to the committee, the cemetery could remain open until 2337 if it is able to partially expand, and if eligibility is restricted to active duty deaths and for veterans with certain qualifying awards (e.g., Medal of Honor) in the very near future.

If retirees remain eligible, the cemetery will reach maximum capacity in 2072. 

“MOAA would like to see ANC remain open and active well into the future. We don't have a problem reserving a set number of plots for future Medal of Honor recipients and combat deaths. But we don't think an 80-year old retiree who's made plans for Arlington burial should lose eligibility to reserve space for an active duty member who dies in a car accident 150 or 200 years from now,” said MOAA Government Relations VP Col. Steve Strobridge, USAF (Ret). 

“A lot can change over 50 or 75 years. The Pentagon hadn't been built 75 years ago, and lots of military installations have been BRACed over the last 35. MOAA and other military and veterans association have told the committee we think all options for further expansion should be pursued before we start turning away older vets who planned for ANC interment. We know procuring land can take a long time, so that process should start sooner rather than later.” 

The ANC staff is developing a report outlining options for the Secretary of the Army, and the committee's report is due to Congress in a few weeks. MOAA will continue working with ANC staff and Congress, but we want to make sure your inputs are adequately represented.

Help us by completing MOAA's five-minute ANC survey

 

 

 

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