NAfME Opposes McSally Amendment to Cut Military Band Funding

Pictured: U.S. Army - The Jazz Ambassadors Photo courtesy of Loran McClung,
Pictured: U.S. Army – The Jazz Ambassadors
Photo courtesy of Loran McClung,

Last Thursday, the House of Representatives passed an amendment by Congresswoman Martha McSally (R-AZ-2) to the fiscal year US Department of Defense appropriations bill that could cut military band funding by $430 million for the upcoming fiscal year. The underlying Defense appropriations bill has also passed the House. NAfME Executive Director and CEO Mike Blakeslee released a statement:

“United States military bands serve our nation with dedication and integrity.  They provide music throughout the entire spectrum of operations, to instill in our forces the will, to fight and win, foster the support of our citizens, and promote America’s interests at home and abroad. United States military bands have as their duty to “inspire patriotism and encourage young men and women to serve in the Air Force or other branches of the military.” In other words, their work is to support the Defense Department’s goal of increasing recruits for the Air Force and other armed forces of the United States.”

executive director
Mike Blakeslee, Executive Director & CEO, NAfME

Earlier this year, NAfME sent a letter to Congresswoman McSally in response to her original comments she made in March.

The Senate recently passed their Defense appropriations measure so both houses will have to reconcile their differences through the conference process. NAfME will continue to monitor the situation and advocate for the McSally amendment to be stripped from the final defense bill.  

Tooshar Swain, Legislative Policy Advisor, Center for Advocacy, Policy, and Constituency Engagement, June 21, 2016. © National Association for Music Education (

  • David

    As an AZ Army National Guard member who has been deployed, the band members do more than just play concerts. McSally is oblivious to this and I’m sure even her own enlisted service men and women have different opinions than the officer elite. While around home station, the bands go out to recruiting and deployment/returns. Morale goes a long way. Next time she thinks band members do nothing, actually do research. My unit was assisting MP units as prison guards in between patrols and playing mini concerts in the dining facility. Let’s cut funding to stupid programs like broken fighter planes before initiatives that actually help.

    This is also assuming she’d be cutting funding to keep the corporate paid projects going. I’m more than willing to speak anytime regarding what the enlisted actually experience vs what the officer corps perceives.