The United States Congress has approved an amendment to the 2013 Defense Authorization Bill authored by Rep Betty McCollum (D-MN) to limit DoD funding of military bands to $200 million. If it makes it through Congress, it could save $188 million.
In a statement placed in the Congressional Record, McCollum said: “Over the past four years, taxpayers have spent $1.55 billion for the Pentagon’s 150 military bands and more than 5,000 full-time, professional military musicians…. At a time of fiscal crisis the Pentagon will have to get by spending only $200 million for their musical arsenal.”
The DoD’s appetite for musical extravaganzas was first brought to light under Secretary Gate’s watch but no action was taken.
Rep McCollum working in concert with Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) is also moving to eliminate all Pentagon spending to sponsor professional or semi-professional sports, including auto racing. Some $80 million was spent on sports sponsorship this year, including $26 million by the National Guard to place its logo on Dale Earnhardt Jr’s NASCAR vehicle, as well as on his uniform and those of his racing team. That amendment was also attached to the 2013 Defense Authorization Bill .
Currently, the Army has 99 bands, which they plan to fund to the “tune” (no pun intended) of $221.1 million for FY 2013. If approved, it will be an increase of $3.3 million from this year level. The Navy has 14 bands that will cost an estimated $55.6 million next year, while the Marine Corps has 12 bands that will cost $53.6 million in 2013.
Our question is how relevant to maintaining an all volunteer force are sport’s advertising and military bands?