Military Musicians Make The Cut In New Budget

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Thomas Phippen Associate Editor
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Military bands won’t be cut in the near future, according to the most recent version of the defense spending bill.

The most recent budget plan dropped a provision that would defund military bands playing for “social functions,” which was passed by the House of Representatives last June.

Instead, military bands will face more scrutiny for the remaining fiscal year. The latest version of the defense spending budget for the remaining fiscal year asks the secretary of defense to “ensure that only the critical functions of military bands are supported while minimizing impacts on funding for essential readiness, military personnel, modernization, and research and development activities,” Military Times reports.

The Pentagon spends about $437 million a year on the 137 bands throughout the five military branches, money that is not spent serving the military’s mission, according to Arizona Republican Rep. Martha McSally, who proposed the amendment to restrict funding to bands.

“For every dollar that is spent on our bands … to entertain at social functions, that’s a dollar we’re not spending on national security and our troops and our families,” McSally said.

McSally’s amendment would have prohibited military bands from performing “for certain entertainment purposes … including dinners, dances and social events.” (RELATED: The Air Force Wants To Buy A $75,000 Cello)

Even though that’s a tiny part of the military’s $1.11 trillion budget, many in Congress think that money would be better spent elsewhere.

An independent analysis by the Lexington Institute found the Department of Defense could spend over $50 billion on military bands over the next 50 years if present spending levels are maintained, the Hill reported last May.

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