DOD's Unaccompanied Enlisted Personnel Housing--Better Living Conditions and Reduced Costs Possible

PLRD-82-59: Published: Apr 30, 1982. Publicly Released: Apr 30, 1982.

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In view of the large sums of money that the Department of Defense (DOD) is spending on housing its unaccompanied enlisted personnel, GAO evaluated the military services': (1) efforts to provide adequate housing; (2) efforts to control off-base housing costs; (3) computations of personnel housing requirements; and (4) personnel housing modernization policies, procedures, and practices.

GAO found opportunities for the military services to more efficiently use existing unaccompanied enlisted personnel housing assets, more accurately determine housing deficits, and control modernization costs. GAO believes that DOD can substantially reduce its off-base housing costs, as well as its construction and modernization costs, and at the same time provide better housing to its enlisted personnel. The services have not uniformly adopted or implemented the minimum standards of adequacy for housing and construction criteria which DOD has established. Seven of nine installations that GAO visited provided service members accommodations that were below the DOD minimum standards of adequacy. Some installations could have provided adequate facilities through better management and efficient utilization of enlisted personnel housing facilities. These housing costs could be further reduced by requiring installations to use underutilized facilities at other nearby installations and by constructing new facilities before modernizing existing ones. Nine installations which GAO visited overstated deficits in existing housing. GAO believes that four construction projects could either be eliminated or reduced in scope and that the Army and the Air Force are unnecessarily modernizing some facilities.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should require the services to implement the reporting requirements in a timely manner.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Since DOD feels that its standards are the minimum rather than the maximum, it feels the Air Force is in compliance.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should redirect the services to uniformly adopt and implement the DOD minimum standards for adequacy of assigning personnel to existing adequate housing. In the case of the Air Force, this would mean lowering the standard for certain personnel to the DOD minimum standards, which would reduce off-base housing costs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the services to explore the opportunities to use underutilized, unaccompanied enlisted personnel housing (UEPH) space of other services when appropriate and to cooperate with services seeking to use those assets.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the services to closely review installations' programming of construction and modernization projects to identify and take advantage of opportunities to reduce off-base housing costs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should redirect the services to discontinue use of unit integrity in making room assignments where such assignments are resulting in underutilized housing and eligible personnel are living off base at additional cost to the government.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the services to thoroughly review the UEPH deficits for currently programmed and funded, and/or planned UEPH construction projects and cancel, where economical to do so, unneeded projects, in particular, at Redstone Arsenal, Charleston Naval Station, Norfolk Naval Station, and Norfolk Naval Air Station.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  7. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the services to defer programming additional UEPH facilities until an accurate UEPH inventory is established.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  8. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the services to verify the personnel strengths upon which the UEPH requirements are based.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  9. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the services to measure the UEPH assets based on maximum capacities under the DOD minimum standards of adequacy or new construction criteria as appropriate.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  10. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the services to use underutilized space at nearby installations as a means of meeting UEPH needs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  11. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD believes that berthing barges provide short term, temporary facilities and should not be considered when determining requirements.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Navy to program UEPH projects for only the portion of ships' crews who are not to be housed in berthing barges during overhauls.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  12. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Navy to correct its system for determining UEPH requirements by eliminating consideration of personnel living on ships.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  13. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD said that the standards were not intended to prohibit improvements above the minimum standards.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should not approve Air Force UEPH modernization projects which add private or semiprivate bathrooms to UEPH facilities which already meet the minimum DOD standards of adequacy and modernization criteria.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  14. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should require the services to consider the additional off-base housing costs associated with modernization projects.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  15. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should revise the DOD inventory, occupancy, and utilization reporting requirements so that program managers receive accurate information.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  16. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD believes that modernization projects which do not result in facilities meeting minimum standards are worthwhile when they result in improved living conditions.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should limit the UEPH modernization projects to those facilities that will meet the DOD minimum standards of adequacy.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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