After a run that stretches back continuously to World War II, the iconic military newspaper Stars and Stripes is set to be shut down this month.
In a memo, the Pentagon wrote, “The last newspaper publication (in all forms) will be September 30, 2020,” according to USA Today.
The newspaper dates to all the way back to the Civil War, when Union soldiers printed the first edition in 1861. An editor of the Stars and Stripes later when on to found The New Yorker.
The paper is delivered to soldiers across the world, even to soldiers on the front line. They maintain bureaus around the world, including in the Middle East. In 2019, they distributed over 7 million papers in the United States, and their website, Stripes.com, had 38 million page views.
On Wednesday, a bipartisan group of senators called on Secretary of Defense Mark Esper to continue funding for the paper.
They wrote, “The $15.5 million currently allocated for the publication of Stars and Stripes is a only a tiny fraction of your Department’s annual budget, and cutting it would have a significantly negative impact on military families and a negligible impact on the Department’s bottom line.”
The senators noted that, though funding for Stars and Stripes is not in the president’s budget request, the House-passed appropriations act “contains additional funding not requested by the Administration to continue operating Stars and Stripes.”
They said that there is a “real possibility that Congress may not agree with the proposal to eliminate this funding.” The senators also noted that it is the policy of the government to act on the funding allotted in the previous year’s bill.
Esper has defended cutting the newspaper, which is largely nonpolitical. In February, Esper said, “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.”