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Barracks ‘1+1’ Slips, Family Housing on Track

The assistant chief of staff for installation management said the Army will likely not meet its goal of housing single soldiers in their "1+1" barracks until 2010, but family housing should be up to standard by 2007.

"We were on target to make it by 2008, but in this last round budget (preparation), we had to make some cuts and make some choices" on housing, Maj. Gen. Larry Lust said. He was speaking to 200 defense industry leaders at the Association of the United States Army Institute of Land Warfare Breakfast March 6 in Crystal City, Va.

The strategy now is to "renovate the worst first."

Seventy-six percent of soldiers are now living in "1+1" barracks, where a soldier has his own living space and shares a bathroom and small kitchenette with another soldier.

The Army needs 164,800 single party spaces for 141,200 soldiers, since sergeants and staff sergeants are given both parts of the "1+1" living quarters, he said.

The Army will also furnish these barracks. "It makes no sense to build a new building and put little furnishing in it," Lust said. This will be easier than in the past because the money for new furnishings will come from a centralized fund.

Inadequate family housing, in which 62 percent of Army families are now living, is schedule to be eliminated by 2007, he said.

Basic allowance for housing will be large enough by 2005 to eliminate out-of-pocket living expenses for the two-thirds of soldiers and their families living off-post.

Lust said the Army still plans to house one-third of soldiers of all ranks on-post.

Although the contracts for privatization will be let by 2007, Lust said that building would likely be completed between FY 2010 and 2012.

On post, privatization through the Army’s Residential Communities Initiative is making strong headway. In these cases, soldiers’ basic allowance for housing is turned over to a private developer and applied to renovating and building housing, as well as maintaining it.

The lease arrangements with developers are for 25 years and are renewable.

For the near future, 28 privatization projects will renovate or build 71,418 units of housing.

Defense officials have testified that developers can leverage $8 for every $1 of BAH to apply to on-post family housing programs.

Lust said he’s been receiving positive feedback on the initiative. During a recent flight to Fort Carson, Colo., an Army spouse told him: "There’s only one thing wrong with it. You’re not doing it fast enough."

"Not all installations can be privatized," he said. For those posts, military construction funds will be used, Army officials said.

Lust also said the Army needs $5 billion to fix on-post utilities including gas, water and sewage, but will try to contract out those services where possible. "I’ve got places that the water pressure from the water tower alone is busting water pipes."

He said that the Army is continuing with its efforts to bury utility lines to approve the appearance of an installation.

In addition, Lust said that by the end of April the new installation management agency wants to set standards of service. "That includes a standard way of numbering buildings." He said that while not every post would look alike, "they should all feel about the same."

Sustaining current installation management levels will cost $2.5 billion for Fiscal Year 2003, he said. It will cost $11.5 billion to raise facilities by FY 2010 to a C-2 level, the second highest level.

The goal is to achieve industry standards of replacing facilities in 67 years through a continuous maintenance program.

BearingPoint was the presenting sponsor for the breakfast.

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