GI's Newspaper on Pentagon Chopping Block

NGAUS Washington Report

(Nov. 26, 2013) The newspaper that has served American service members overseas since World War II is being eyed for elimination by the Pentagon.

Stars and Stripes reported this week that it and the American Forces Network are under the microscope as the Defense Department looks for places to cut its budget.

“In this budget environment, we’re looking at everything,” Navy Cmdr. Bill Urban, a spokesman for the Cost Assessment and program Evaluation Office, told the newspaper.

The newspaper has been asked to supply budget officials with information regarding its budget and scenarios for cuts, according to a story published Monday. The newspaper received a $7.4 million subsidy from the Pentagon for 2014. Most of its budget comes from advertising, newspaper sales and other newspaper-generated revenue, the paper reported.

Also at risk is AFN and the Pentagon Channel, both of which carry command information. Stars and Stripes is editorially independent from the Defense Department.
The news did not go over well on Capitol Hill. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said it would be a “terrible mistake.”

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said, “I don’t like the idea. I certainly acknowledge [the Pentagon] has some really difficult choices ahead and I’d want to look at it, but I think an independent editorial voice like Stars and Stripes provides is pretty darn important for transparency and accountability and oversight in the military.”

The newspaper has been in continuous publication overseas since April 1942 when it began serving troops in Europe during World War II.