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Report: Pentagon orders Stars and Stripes newspaper to shut down by Sept. 30th after 159 years

Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper addresses virtual attendees of the Aspen Security Forum from the Pentagon Briefing Room, Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2020. (DoD photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jack Sanders)
September 04, 2020

The Pentagon has ordered the Stars and Stripes newspaper to shut down after 159 years in circulation for military service members, according to a memo obtained by USA Today on Friday.

The memo, authored by Col. Paul Haverstick Jr., demands Stars and Stripes’ publisher to propose a plan to “dissolve” the newspaper by Sept. 15, as well as a timeline for “vacating government owned/leased space worldwide.”

The memo adds that Sept. 30 will mark the final publication of the newspaper.

Stars and Stripes receives more than $15 million annually in federal funds via the federal government’s annual defense bill. The subsidy comprises half of the publication’s budget.

The Pentagon memo cites the president’s authority to dissolve the publication under his defense budget request.

The House of Representatives had repeatedly struck down efforts to exclude the publication’s funding from the 2021 defense bill, however. The Senate has not yet moved to decide on the funding.

In February, the Pentagon had announced it would be eliminating the funding in order to reprioritize funds. At the time, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said during a NATO press conference, “We trimmed the support for Stars and Stripes because we need to invest that money, as we did with many, many other programs, into higher-priority issues.”

In a letter to Esper last week, 15 senators urged him to “take steps to preserve the funding prerogatives of Congress before allowing any such disruption to take place.”