The Army is crafting a new plan to improve barracks following mold and health issues, as well as a damning report from a government watchdog last month that found squalid base housing across the services — including bad plumbing, brown water and insect infestations.
The plan, which has not yet been approved by Army Secretary Christine Wormuth, aims to pump $4 billion into barracks construction and renovations, and fund barracks sustainment to 100% of what's authorized by Congress, according to an internal copy reviewed by Military.com. On average in recent years, the Army has funded barracks sustainment at only 85% of what's authorized, using the rest of the money for unrelated projects.
Part of that increase would go to fully funding repairs and other sustainment, amounting to $342 million through the rest of the decade. The $4 billion would be a huge boost to new construction and renovations, but it would require the support of Congress for new funding.
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“Honestly, it's a matter of balancing resources,” Paul Farnan, the principal deputy assistant secretary of the Army for installations, energy and environment, said Thursday when asked why barracks weren't fully funded from the start. “We only have so many dollars. In the past, installations were under-invested in and that's how we got ourselves into this hole.”