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Legion calls for Arlington to change hands

Featured in Legislative Center
Legion calls for Arlington to change hands
U.S. Marine Corps photo

The American Legion is submitting written testimony to today's joint hearing of the House and Senate Subcommittees on Oversight and Investigations that will focus on reforms being conducted at Arlington National Cemetery.

Officials from Arlington National Cemetery will present an update on progress at the cemetery to subcommittees of the Armed Services Committees. In its written testimony, the Legion applauds Kathryn Condon, executive director of the cemetery, for her efforts to provide transparency over the past year. But, the testimony says, the only sensible long-term solution is to transfer operational control of the cemetery to the National Cemetery Administration.

"NCA is already managing 131 cemeteries and doing it well," states the testimony. "As any business would point out, management costs can be better amortized when spread over a large operation in this nature, and the costs to absorb Arlington and the U.S. Soldier's and Airmen's Home National Cemeteries would result in net cost saving for the government as a whole. Furthermore, NCA's proven track record is underlined by the top customer satisfaction rating as rated by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI).

"The American Legion is mindful of the proud tradition of the Army in maintaining this facility and recognizes the importance to the Army, those presently serving and veterans, of restoring honor to the facility. Nobody questions the performance of the Army in the ceremonial tasks and duties they have always performed, and performed with distinction. The American Legion believes the responsibilities of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, traditionally known as "The Old Guard," which include conducting military ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, manning the 24-hour vigil at the Tomb of the Unknowns, and being the provider of military funeral escorts at Arlington, should never change, as a result of any reorganization associated with Arlington National Cemetery."

For the complete written testimony, click here.

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