The Bad Decisions that Led to Privatized Military Housing Woes
By Thomas Spoehr
2 Apr 2019
Privatization began around 1996, when Congress authorized the Defense Department to enter into long-term agreements with private companies to repair, renovate, construct and operate base housing.
Retired Army Lt. Gen. Thomas Spoehr is the director of The Heritage Foundation's Center for National Defense.
Outdated family quarters at Fort Lee get demolished to make room for modern replacement units. (U.S. Army/T. Anthony Bell
Privatized military housing is under fire. It started with a Feb. 13 hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, where multiple witnesses reported horrendous living conditions including "black mold, lead, infestations of vermin, flooding, radon and faulty wiring." Worse, family members testified, complaints were often met with denials, resistance, and even retribution from the private management companies and military chains of command.
None of this is acceptable. But given decisions made years ago, it was predictable.
Roughly a third of military personnel live on installations, where 99 percent of the housing has been privatized.
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