Expansion plans during the next 10 years are expected to keep Arlington National cemetery open for burials through 2060, according to John C. Metzler Jr., cemetery superintendent.
A series of land acquisitions will help make this possible. Contracts to control drainage on 26 acres of the cemetery have been awarded. Under survey are 12 acres transferred from the National Park Service historic Arlington House, onetime home of Robert E. Lee, 10 acres from the adjacent Fort Myer and four acres of cemetery maintenance property.
The new space is expected to provide room for 14,000 ground burials and 22,000 inurnments in a columbarium.
Additional space will be acquired in 2010 when the cemetery acquires the Navy Annex property on Columbia Pike. One building was removed two years ago to permit construction of the Air Force Memorial. Remaining buildings will be demolished in 2013.
The number of veterans’ death is peaking, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Annual deaths of about 680,000 are expected to fall to 671,000 in 2010 and 562,000 in 2020. Of some 3 million surviving World War II veterans, about 1,000 die each day. More than 400 service members killed in Iraq and Afghanistan have been buried in Arlington.