Army, McCain Seek Arlington Cemetery Expansion

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, is urging the Army to do everything possible to expand Arlington National Cemetery, including using land freed up by the demolition of the Navy Annex. At its current size, the cemetery will run out of space for burials in 2027, though a 27-acre expansion underway now should add enough space to keep the cemetery active until the 2030s, cemetery spokeswoman Jennifer Lynch told Air Force Magazine. The Army now owns the 37-acre property that was previously home to the Navy Annex, but the land is broken up into three non-contiguous parcels, two of which are separated by a major road, Lynch said. The Army is in talks with Arlington officials to realign Columbia Pike, which would make the land more suitable for interment, but the county has so far not agreed, and has proposed using the land for a bus maintenance facility. In a letter to Army Secretary John McHugh, McCain stressed the importance of “a solution that maximizes property for the cemetery and restricts incompatible use.” Lynch said the Army is committed to maintaining Arlington as an active cemetery as long as possible, and that any land adjacent to the cemetery should be used in a way that is compatible with its location next to the nation’s most hallowed ground.