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Military bands on Gates's chopping block?

By Ed O'Keefe


An Army brass band performs at a U.S. military camp in Baghdad. (Erik De Castro/AP)

Here's a great story from The Post's Walter Pincus:

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates frequently makes the point that Congress funds Defense Department personnel far more easily than it does State Department employees.
"There are about 6,000 FSOs," or Foreign Service officers, he told an audience in San Francisco this month. He drew laughter when he added that former secretary of state "Condi Rice used to say, 'We have more people in military bands than they have in the Foreign Service.' She was not far wrong."
Well, maybe Gates should take a closer look at those military bands during his campaign to trim defense spending. My interest was triggered by a new field manual for Army bands, released last month, that Steven Aftergood first noted on his Secrecy News Web site.
You may be aware of the Army Band, known as "Pershing's Own" -- based in the Washington area -- which, according to the manual, is authorized to have 250 officers and enlisted men. Then there is the Army's Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, West Point's Military Academy Band, and the Army Field Band, located at nearby Fort Meade, Md. These are known as the Army's "special bands."

Continue reading this story >>>

By Ed O'Keefe  | August 24, 2010; 9:30 AM ET
Categories:  Budget, Military  
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Comments

"great story" ? How about lazy journalism? 45 to 60 minutes of internet research followed by an op/ed piece. Did Pincus bother speaking to *anyone* in the DoD or with the units he disparaged? No. Did he even leave his keyboard to do any research? No. There are some functions of the military that are ceremonial, some that involve recruitment, some that involve morale, some that involve public outreach.

The mission of the units mentioned far exceeds the scope the author described. It's appalling what passes for "news" in our society now. If you're going to present 5% of the facts, you're going to be 5% accurate. Yet, the agency reporting is still 100% accountable, and in this case the editors at The Washington Post should absolutely be ashamed.

Posted by: kingrob76 | August 24, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

so after all of that you can't give us a total number of band members? what a waste

Posted by: jiji1 | August 24, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

HOW MANY DEFENSE DEPT. BILLIONS ARE SQUANDERED ON WITCH HUNTS AND SILENT ELCTROMAGNETIC TORTURE OF EXTRA-LEGALLY TARGETED U.S. CITIZENS -- SLANDERED AS 'DISSIDENTS' OR UNDESIRABLES?

Stop nickel-and-diming, Mr. Gates -- end the CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY being committed on YOUR watch, at huge taxpayer expense.

Rogue programs have been exposed by this veteran journalist -- why does the "anti-functional" MW torture, the financial sabotage, the government-enabled community "watch" stalking and domestic terrorism continue?

http://nowpublic.com/world/u-s-silently-tortures-americans-cell-tower-microwaves
http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america
http://nowpublic.com/world/u-s-govt-censors-net-political-speech-targeted-americans

Posted by: scrivener50 | August 24, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Slash 'em. I'm in the military. The bands are expensive and pointless. If we're not willing to make this easy decision, we're not ready to make the real cuts necessary to get our spending in check.

Posted by: hcaulfield | August 24, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

The bands are beloved by everyone in D.C. - they serve to honor our troops and veterans continuously by performing ceremonies and funerals. They also serve the community with free public concerts and community service. All militaries around the world thru-out history have employed and continue to employ bands as part of their organizations (you can find videos of military bands from other countries on youtube). They also serve to recruit, inspire, educate, and perform for politicians and dignitaries from around the world. These bands are a symbol of Americas greatness!! When budget crisis arises.... the solution is not to cut the arts!!! Art and music is what makes up our culture. If we end funding of the arts, then our society will dry up and cease to function and this will no longer be a place we can proudly call home. All of Europe and the other continents understand how IMPORTANT music, art, food, and culture is to creating a unique and wonderful place to live. If we lose our music - we lose our identity. If we lose our military bands (which command a PUNY portion of military funds for their upkeep) we would only be putting more people out of work... a bunch of patriotic musicians who have devoted their time, talent, hard work, and lives to honoring this country and its troops and veterans. Military bands make America a better place for all of us.

Posted by: jmfproductions1 | August 24, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

THIS IS AN IDIOTIC CONVERSATION. GATES' POINT WAS THAT STATE DEPT AGENTS ARE UNDERVALUED, NOT THAT MUSICIANS SHOULD BE CUT (RICE WAS A PIANIST). MR. GATES IS NOT A MORON. MILITARY BANDS NOT ONLY SERVE A PURPOSE IN CEREMONIES AND CONCERTS, THEY EXPRESS TO OUR ENEMIES OUR POWER- "THE US MILITARY IS SO STRONG THAT THEY CAN EVEN AFFORD TO SUSTAIN EXCELLENT MUSICIANS"-CATCH THE POINT, WILL YOU!!! GATES WOULD HAVE TO BE AN IDIOT TO GET RID OF A TINY JEWEL LIKE THE MILITARY BANDS

Posted by: trckl | August 24, 2010 11:32 PM | Report abuse

Hey to hcaulfield that says to cut the bands because they are useless, Here's a little tidbit you should know about the bands. 1st off military musicians have been a part of this countries history since George Washington's continental army, in fact each unit in the army was assigned a fife, drummer and bugler. 2nd Army Bandsmen do so much more beyond the scope of just playing music. The band field is one of the few fields in the military that you need to have training in BEFORE you join. We do our job on top of being top notch soldiers. Know your facts before you go flying off with stupid comments like that. And yes I TOO am in the Military!

Posted by: horngod21 | August 29, 2010 3:14 AM | Report abuse

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