Below is a summary of results from the first National Dialogue survey, which was released this past summer. We plan to release a second survey in the coming weeks.
ARLINGTON, Va. – Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) is at a crossroads in its history. In approximately 23 years, the cemetery will run out of space and will no longer be an active cemetery. In order to extend the cemetery's capacity for generations to come, changes to eligibility criteria and expansion of the cemetery's geographic footprint are required.
To address this issue, ANC has two expansion projects in the works enabling the cemetery to maximize burial space for our nation's veterans. The first is the Millennium Project, expected to open in the spring of 2018, consisting of 27 previously undeveloped acres that will extend the cemetery's capacity to remain open into the early 2040s. The other project is the proposed Southern Expansion, which is the area nearest to the Air Force Memorial and part of the former grounds of the Navy Annex. This project consists of approximately 37 acres and will expand the cemetery's capacity to remain open into the mid-2050s.
Additionally, in July 2017 the cemetery initiated a survey inviting the public and stakeholders to join a National Dialogue on the issue, providing a forum to share ideas, opinions and concerns. The survey closed in November and generated feedback from approximately 28,000 respondents, which included veterans and service members from all branches of service, military families and the general public.
“We want to thank everyone who participated in the first part of this important discussion. Survey results indicated nearly unanimous support for keeping Arlington National Cemetery active for new burials well into the future,” said Arlington National Cemetery Superintendent Katharine Kelley. “As we get ready to launch a second survey with more refined options, we want everyone to have a voice in the conversation.”
Other results included:
- Most of those respondents also recognized the need to change eligibility policy either along with future expansions or alone.
- If expansion is not possible, seventy percent of respondents told us that action should be taken to restrict eligibility at ANC (Note: Such changes would not affect the more than 200 Veterans Affairs and state military cemeteries).
- Those who felt rules should change also felt strongly that the cemetery should remain open for those who have given the last full measure of devotion and have been killed in action or performed extraordinary actions in combat.
The Honor Subcommittee of the Advisory Committee on Arlington National Cemetery (ACANC) will host a roundtable discussion with Veteran and Military Service Organizations Jan. 30 from 9 a.m. until noon at the Sheraton Pentagon City Hotel, 900 S. Orme St., Arlington, Virginia. Welcome and sign-in seating begins at approximately 8:30 a.m. This meeting, as announced in the Federal Register, is open to the public.
The intent of the roundtable is to discuss the results of the first National Dialogue Survey and gain feedback on those results and on refined options for the second survey now being developed. Following the roundtable, ANC will launch and complete the second survey, and present the results and any recommendations to the full committee, the Secretary of the Army and Secretary of Defense for their approval and subsequent inclusion in the Code of Federal Regulations.
For more information about the Advisory Committee on Arlington National Cemetery please visit: https://www.arlingtoncemetery.mil/About/Advisory-Committee-on-Arlington-National-Cemetery/ACANC-Meetings.
National Dialogue information may be found at: https://www.arlingtoncemetery.mil/News/Post/4178.