The Army is hoping privatization can fix the myriad quality-of-life issues facing its barracks, at least partly because it has few other ideas.
In December, key service leaders had a barracks summit to draw up plans to get soldier housing back up to standards following months of media reports on rampant mold and other problems, as well as a damning federal watchdog report detailing squalid conditions in military rank-and-file base housing.
They came out of that summit relatively empty-handed with no clear path forward and still facing an estimated $7.5 billion price tag for simply catching up on maintenance for the service's portfolio of 6,700 barracks buildings. A Military.com investigation into the effort included interviews with more than a dozen key Army personnel.
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Enter privatization, a move the military used in an attempt to fix systemic problems with base family housing that surfaced in the 1990s.
Army planners have been slowly working on plans to privatize barracks, something already done by the Navy in a limited capacity.
A pilot project is in the works at Fort Irwin in California, with additional installations being eyed. For now, the Army has limited privatized barracks that are mostly for older enlisted personnel and not at the scale or as logistically challenging as privatizing barracks en masse for entire formations.
“There is no…