The Army is outlining new steps to improve housing for soldiers and their families while demanding accountability from privatized housing contractors and commanders, Reuters reported Wednesday.
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told Reuters privatized military housing contractors operating on installations have committed $500 million to address poor conditions, the report said.
McCarthy also said more funding is needed for new on-base housing and renovation of existing units. The Army will also consider “recapitalization” of its housing program with private partners, Reuters reported.
This year the Army has temporarily relocated 1,800 families while repairing their homes and has been inspecting each of its 87,000 homes, according to the report.
The service and its contractors have spent $68 million more addressing maintenance delays and will conduct regular home inspections for hazards. It has also hired 100 inspectors and is requiring contractors to create resident phone apps to track maintenance work, the report said.
“There was a breakdown over the last decade,” McCarthy said. “These are hard lessons learned, but we’re trying to dig out quickly. Behaviors have changed.”
In January the Army will change how it approves private contractor incentive fee payments to ensure firms don’t profit from shoddy homes, McCarthy said.
Gen. Gus Perna, chief of the Army Materiel Command, now reviews all incentive payments which can reach millions each year, according to Reuters.
“I have one metric: Make sure our families live in the best base housing possible,” Perna said.
Last fall Reuters published an series on privatized military housing hazards including poor construction, mold and pest infestations, the lead-based paint and others, as On Base previously reported.