Military Family Housing:

Opportunities to Improve Operations and Maintenance of Military Family Housing

NSIAD-88-204: Published: Sep 23, 1988. Publicly Released: Oct 25, 1988.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO evaluated the Department of Defense (DOD) Family Housing Program operations and maintenance to determine whether DOD managed the program in the most economical manner.

GAO found that there were three areas in which DOD family housing operations and maintenance needed attention, including the: (1) use of substantially more electricity and natural gas than private sector residences; (2) authorization for private cleaning services when military housing residents moved, at an estimated cost of $51 million; and (3) unavailability of critically needed units because maintenance and repairs frequently took too long to complete.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD stated that it will be reporting to the Senate on measures to be taken to reduce the cost of providing utility service to family housing. Monitoring of energy use will not be one of the measures.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should implement, at least on a test basis at selected installations, a program to monitor the use of energy by individual housing units and compare this information with like units both on and off the installations. As the results warrant, the Secretary should undertake additional monitoring and conservation measures.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD stated it will ensure that the services enforce an occupant cleaning policy to bring the program in line with limited spending, related savings, and intangible benefits. However, no specific action was identified.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense, after receiving and analyzing each service's progress report on the contract cleaning program, should take the action needed to bring the cost of the program in line with related savings and intangible benefits.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD stated that guidelines GAO used on criteria have been superceded. New guidelines give installation commanders authority to establish criteria for returning housing to use. While DOD will review the guidelines proposed by the commanders, no indication was given as to how consistency or enforcement would be achieved.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct installation commanders to reexamine their performance in completing the repair and maintenance needed to return housing units to use promptly and within existing guidelines.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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