Tactical

Republican lawmakers urge Army leaders to improve barracks conditions

A group of Republican lawmakers sent Army leaders a message on June 28 urging them to address the current state of the service’s barracks conditions, according to a letter shared with Military Times.

That letter, addressed to Army Secretary Christine Wormuth and Chief of Staff Gen. Randy George, emphasized that substandard living scenarios pose a health risk to military personnel and negatively affect the recruitment and retention of troops.

“It is completely unacceptable for our servicemembers and their families to have anything less than high-quality, safe homes on our military bases,” Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., told Military Times in a statement.

“We need to know whether the Army is doing all it can to quickly implement effective solutions to improve housing conditions, like we’ve seen at Fort Liberty,” he added, specifically noting barracks improvement efforts at the North Carolina installation. “Not only is better quality housing key to help meet recruitment and retention goals, it is critical to ensuring our military’s readiness.”

Among the letter’s dozen signatories was Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., who led the House military quality of life panel.

Accountability for the management of housing facilities has long been on the minds of rank-and-file soldiers who have endured dirty and unsafe conditions ranging from poor air and water quality to mold.

While acknowledging some progress has been made, the lawmakers asked the service in their letter to respond to a series of questions, including what actions the Army plans to take, and how money will be spent, to address concerns with housing.

A 2023 Government Accountability Office report found that planning and oversight missteps from Pentagon leadership had subjected thousands of service members to inadequate living situations in military barracks.

Recommendations from that report for the Army remain open as of Tuesday morning.

“Our nation’s young men and women who join the Army deserve to live in safe, high-quality barracks and housing and Army senior leaders are committed to continuing to improve barracks conditions through concrete actions to ensure a living experience that enhances wellbeing, readiness, recruitment, and retention,” Col. Roger M. Cabiness II, an Army spokesperson, told Military Times in a statement.

“As with all congressional correspondence, we will respond directly to the author of the letter.”

Jonathan is a staff writer and editor of the Early Bird Brief newsletter for Military Times. Follow him on Twitter @lehrfeld_media

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