In an unpublicized memo, the Pentagon delivered an order to shut down the publication of "Stars and Stripes", a U.S. military newspaper that has been a voice for American troops since the Civil War.
The memo orders the publisher of the newspaper to present a plan that dissolves the Stars and Stripes by September 15, including a timeline for vacating government-owned or leased space worldwide.
The history of Stars and Stripes
The first edition of "Stars and Stripes" was published on November 9, 1861, in Bloomfield, Missouri when forces headed by Ulysses Grant overran the town on the way to Cape Girardeau.
Grant's troops who had been pressmen before the war set up shop at a local newspaper office that was abandoned by its Confederate sympathizer publisher, as reported by BBC.
Since then, the newspaper has launched the careers of famous journalists such as T.V. commentator Andy Rooney and cartoonist Bill Mauldin.
The newspaper is independent and the distinguished military leaders, including Dwight Eisenhower, made sure that the newspaper delivers every news story accurately.
Today, the newspaper is printed at sites around the world and delivered to troops on a daily basis, even those on the front lines, where the internet can't be accessed or is spotty.
As the newspaper for the military, "Stars and Stripes" provides intensive and critical coverage of issues that are important to members of the U.S. armed services and it "cuts through political and military brass B.S. talking points" Marine veteran Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz told Military.com.
Pushing back to keep Stars and Stripes
The Trump administration has been attacking the press since 2016, and Pentagon's rush to shutter "Stars and Stripes" also raises constitutional questions.
The memo ordering the dissolution of the publication states that the Pentagon has the authority to make this move under the president's fiscal year 2021 defence department budget request. It zeroes out the $15.5 million annual subsidies for "Stars and Stripes."
However, Congress has not yet approved the president's request. Congress, under the Constitution, has the power to make decisions about how the public's money is spent.
The version of the House approved earlier this year overruled the decision to shit down "Stars and Stripes", restoring funding for the newspaper, according to The Guardian.
The Senate has not acted yet, but in a letter that was released this week, 15 members of the chamber including combat veteran Tammy Duckworth, a Democrat, and four Republicans, called on Defense Secretary Mark Esper to take steps to preserve the funding prerogatives of Congress before shutting down the newspaper.
In another letter, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham makes a similar request. He wrote that he knows the value of "Stars and Stripes" since he is a veteran himself and has served overseas. He added that shutting down the newspaper before the Senate acts would be premature.
Numerous politicians and the public deemed the move unusual since when Congress has failed to approve a budget for an agency at the end of a fiscal year, a continuing resolution maintains funding at the past year's levels until the lawmaker's act.
However, the Pentagon memo to "Stars and Stripes" still demands a plan for dissolution and states that the last date of the paper will be determined. President Trump vowed to stop the Pentagon from shutting down the paper, but no update has been made.