House Armed Services Committee to discuss poor condition of U.S. barracks

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(The Center Square) – The House Armed Services Committee plans to hold a hearing Wednesday on the state of military housing for U.S. troops after a government report detailed unsafe and unsanitary conditions in barracks.

The committee will meet at 10 a.m. Wednesday in the Rayburn House Office Building for a hearing on unaccompanied military housing the military housing privatization initiative.

Elizabeth Field, director of Defense Capabilities and Management for the U.S. Government Accountability Office is expected to testify about the conditions of barracks.

The hearing comes after what one U.S. Senator called a “shameful” report on conditions in military housing for those who are unmarried and don’t have children or other dependents.

A 118-page report from the Government Accountability Office laid bare the conditions of the barracks that house hundreds of thousands of military service members. The report detailed sewage backups and inoperable fire systems among the safety hazards that U.S. service members living in barracks face. It found that such conditions undermine quality of life and military readiness.

Problems with barracks, where military members live during initial training, have existed for decades. The Department of Defense has not fully funded its facilities program for years leading to a backlog of at least $137 billion in deferred maintenance costs as of fiscal year 2020, according to the Government Accountability Office report.

Representatives from the Army, Navy and Air Force also are expected to testify at Wednesday’s hearing.

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