WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing in Washington, DC to investigate and address sub-standard conditions at privatized military housing units around the country.
During the hearing, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), the Ranking Member of the Armed Services Committee, called for action to ensure the health and well-being of our troops and their families when it comes to housing.
Reed noted: “A servicemember’s commitment extends beyond the missions they complete; they dedicate their entire family’s lives to service. This committee is similarly obligated to look beyond operational resources and ensure it meets the needs of servicemembers and their families once they return home. It is our commitment today that this hearing will be the first step towards doing just that.”
Witnesses at the hearing included military families; senior leaders from the U.S. Department of Defense, who are responsible for selecting contractors, writing the contracts, and enforcing DOD standards; as well as a panel of presidents and CEOs of private contractors that operate military housing on military installations.
During his questioning of witnesses, Senator Reed secured commitments from the heads of privatized military housing companies that they would:
- Do everything in their power to immediately address the issues raised today by our military families, not just those who testified but all those who’ve submitted testimony and information to the committee.
- Do everything in their power to protect the military families who appeared here today, as well as those who have submitted testimony or information to the Committee, inspectors general, or their chain of command from reprisal, including threats or reprisal from your employees.
- Guarantee complete cooperation with the GAO in their effort to obtain information and issue findings.
Reed went on to state: “The testimony today, including the first panel and your comments suggest the system is broken. These problems were obvious to the military families, but they were not obvious enough to you to take effective corrective action. We have to think collectively, working with the Department of the Defense and the service departments, to come up with appropriate incentives and disincentives so that once again you don’t take your eye off the target. And the target is very clear. As we’ve all stated - and we have to not just talk about it but do the deeds - we owe an obligation to these families because of their service that they live in the best possible housing, not the type of housing that was described today. And we here, I know we will work with the Chairman to do everything we can and whatever we must to ensure that every military family in military housing does not have to worry about the health of their child, their safety, their warmth in the winter or their comfort in the summer. Thank you.”
***Video of today’s hearing is available HERE.***