Calvert calls on Defense Department to end American Forces Network furloughs

On Friday, Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.) called for the Defense Department to end unnecessary furloughs of the American Forces Network that have pushed many of its channels off the air and ended live sporting event broadcasts for troops deployed overseas.

“Our troops should never be subjected to political games,” Calvert said. “The only games they want to see are the baseball playoffs, football games, and other sporting events that boost their morale. Congress has passed, and the President has signed into law, a bill that provides the funding authorization necessary to reduce Defense Department civilian furloughs – that includes the media broadcasts for the American Forces Network.

“Regardless of our other differences, the morale and welfare of our troops, especially those deployed overseas, is something to which we should all be committed. I sincerely hope that the Defense Department gets these channels back on the air as soon as possible.”

Calvert spoke by telephone on Friday with a senior defense official, outlining his belief that the American Forces Network broadcasts are part of the “support” definition outlined in the Pay Our Military Act.

The American Forces Network Broadcast Center falls under the umbrella of Headquarters Defense Media Activity’s Broadcast Services Directorate at Fort George Meade Maryland. The program provides programming for military radio and television outlets overseas in more than 175 countries.