Army Secretary Mark Esper addressed the 2109 Defense Communities National Summit Monday in a keynote discussion session where he touched on a range of pressing Army, installation and community issues.
His keynote discussion kicking off the Summit was moderated by ADC President Bill Parry.
Below are a few highlights of Esper’s comments:
- On the State of Military Housing: “We are moving into the hard part of the process,” Esper said. He said DOD’s next priority will involve “building the back-end accountability culture” necessary to resolve privatized housing issues. He also highlighted the Pentagon’s actions including conducting town halls, establishing 1-800 hotlines, meeting with privatized housing firms, military members and spouses. He also emphasized the tenant’s bill of rights should be finalized soon so tenants have a vehicle to dispute unsatisfactory conditions.
- On the Military-Civilian Divide: “The civilian population and armed forces are moving in opposite directions,” Esper said. He emphasized that the divide affects recruiting and that approximately 1 million service members are currently providing protection for about 326 million civilians. He also highlighted the Army’s upcoming “Focus 22” recruiting strategy to reinvigorate its recruiting efforts in America’s top 22 population centers.
- On Military Family Quality of Life: Esper said that the Army has an “enduring commitment to its soldiers and their families.” Esper particularly voiced the top installation and community quality of life priorities, such as quality child care, education, housing, infrastructure, and raising the profile and opportunities for military spouse employment.
ADC photo provided by Will Noonan