Arlington burial restrictions to be expanded due to lack of space

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Arlington burial restrictions to be expanded due to lack of space

From Stars and Stripes:

Extending the lifetime of Arlington National Cemetery will likely require further restrictions on which servicemembers and veterans are eligible for burial there, the Army wrote in a report released to Congress.

Tightening the eligibility requirements — already the strictest of any national cemetery — is one of several options that the Army outlined in its report, which asks Congress, veterans organizations and the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs for urgency in making decisions about changes to eligibility or the size of the cemetery. Arlington is expected to reach capacity in about three decades if nothing changes, meaning most veterans from recent wars wouldn’t have the option to be buried there.

“Arlington National Cemetery is at a crossroads,” reads the report released Thursday. “When one thinks of ANC, it is natural to envision it stretching on forever – not only in physical space, but in time. The truth is that ANC is running out of space. ANC and those it exists to serve must… confront the reality that, at some point in the near future, the cemetery will no longer continue to operate as it does today.”

According to the article,  "even with the opening of a 27-acre expansion this fall, the cemetery is expected to reach capacity in the early 2040s."  The realirt is that there really isn't any direction that Arlington can grow in.

One idea is to create a new Arlington:

Another option in the report is for Congress to establish an entirely new cemetery, separate from Arlington and managed by the Defense Department.

“This would mean building a new cemetery in a suitable place that would offer the same burial honors as ANC,” the report reads. “While it is impossible to recreate the aesthetic appeal and history of ANC, this new cemetery could grow to become iconic over time, in the same way that ANC has gradually evolved over the past 150 years.”

Creating a new cemetery would take decades, the report states, and work would need to start soon, or else it would not be established by the time Arlington ran out of space.

The American Legion passed a resolution on this last year:

RESOLVED, By The American Legion in National Convention assembled in Cincinnati, Ohio, August 30, 31, September 1, 2016, That The American Legion urges Congress to codify eligibility criteria for burial at Arlington National Cemetery and that such burial be restricted to service members who die on active-duty; to our most decorated veterans to include recipients of the Purple Heart; former members of the armed forces separated from the military with a physical disability of 30 percent or more before October 1, 1949; and to veterans who spent full careers in uniform, and to their spouses and eligible children; to former prisoners of war; and for the President or former Presidents as Commanders in Chief of the Armed Forces; and, be it further

RESOLVED, That The American Legion believes there should be no waivers for unqualified persons except under unique and compelling circumstances that comport with codified non-partisan waiver procedures as established by Congress; and, be it finally

RESOLVED, That The American Legion believes eligibility for interment of cremated remains of honorably discharged veterans in the Columbarium at Arlington should also be codified.

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.