Lawmakers vented their frustration Wednesday after a government watchdog report detailed squalid living conditions in military barracks that included overflowing sewage, rampant mold, bed bug infestations and squatters.
In the first public hearing of the House Armed Services Committee's recently launched military quality-of-life panel, both Republican and Democrat lawmakers blasted the findings of last week's Government Accountability Office report on barracks conditions as “deplorable,” “unacceptable” and “appalling.”
“If I would have had these conditions in any of our barracks, I would have gotten fired,” said panel Chairman Don Bacon, R-Neb., a retired Air Force brigadier general who served as a wing commander at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, and Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. “Where is the accountability at with these barracks? Has anyone been held accountable? And what are we going to do to get this right and get this fixed?”
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“We cannot allow this situation to persist,” Bacon added. “It is an issue not only of justice and dignity, but also of military readiness.”
The GAO report, issued last week, illuminated and confirmed complaints that service members have sounded for years about barracks that are unlivable.
Based on visits to 12 installations, the 118-page report featured accounts…