Military Housing:

Costs of Separate Barracks for Male and Female Recruits in Basic Training

NSIAD-99-75: Published: Mar 1, 1999. Publicly Released: Mar 1, 1999.

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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO determined each military service's costs if required to provide housing for male and female recruits during basic training in separate structures. GAO also: (1) obtained the services' views on housing male and female recruits in separate barracks; and (2) reviewed the services' compliance with the act's requirement to provide separate and secure areas for male and female recruits if they are housed in the same barracks.

GAO noted that: (1) the services would not incur additional construction costs if they housed male and female recruits in separate barracks; (2) analysis showed that on the basis of the peak number of male and female recruits at each basic training installation during fiscal year 1998, the barracks capacity at each installation was sufficient to house male and female recruits in separate barracks; (3) the Army had previously estimated that $271 million would be needed for barracks construction if male and female recruits were housed in separate barracks; (4) the Army based this estimate on the assumption that, to maintain unit integrity, it would house only one training unit in a barracks; (5) the Army assumed that barracks areas vacated when females moved out would not be reassigned to males from other training units and that new barracks would be constructed for the females; (6) GAO believes that effective leadership and management oversight could overcome problems in sharing of barracks space and that the added costs of constructing separate buildings could thereby be avoided; (7) the Army already assigns more than one training unit to its newer 1,200-person recruit barracks providing each unit with a separate area of the barracks; (8) GAO's analysis assumed that recruit barracks could be shared by more than one training unit and that each unit could be provided a separate floor or area for housing its members; (9) Army, Navy, and Air Force officials opposed housing male and female recruits in separate barracks; (10) they also said that current recruit housing practices already provide separate and secure housing and additional security would be achieved if males and females were housed in separate buildings; (11) they further said that placing males and females in separate barracks would: (a) increase requirements for enlisted female supervisors to manage barracks, thereby exacerbating an existing shortage of females in this skill area; and (b) add training costs because of the time lost traveling between barracks whenever males and females attended the same training event; (12) according to service officials, recruit barracks at gender-integrated basic training installations comply with the recruit housing requirements of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1999; and (13) male and female recruits are assigned to separate and secure sleeping and latrine areas on different floors or in discrete sections of barracks.

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