The Defense Department would need to brief the House Armed Services Committee on the potential impacts to host communities of its policy of opening family housing projects to the general public when occupancy rates drop below certain levels.
The request, an amendment to the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill added during a recent committee markup, directs DOD to focus on community impacts stemming from changes in the number of non-federally connected civilian children residing in military housing. Officials also should develop recommendations to mitigate possible community impacts.
A growing number of installations recently have expanded eligibility to live in family housing projects to DOD civilians, military retirees, and in some cases, the public as occupancy rates have dropped due to cuts in end strength.
The amendment, offered by Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), acknowledges that opening up housing projects to the public is needed to ensure the financial viability of the public-private partnerships. “[But] this approach could also pose unanticipated challenges to the communities that support them,” the amendment states.
The language calls for DOD’s analysis to include:
- a site-by-site census of non-federally connected civilian children living in housing under the Military Housing Privatization Initiative annually from FY 2011 to FY 2015; and
- an evaluation of projected force structure trends over the next decade that may influence the levels of non-federally connected civilian children.
The House Armed Services Committee also included language in its markup supportive of continued use of utilities privatization.
“Through utilities privatization, military installations have been able to achieve greater efficiencies and reduce operating costs while recapitalizing aging utilities infrastructure with modern, reliable systems,” report language stated. “In addition, the committee notes that utilities privatization can also enhance support to military missions. Therefore, the committee encourages the military departments to continue to pursue utility privatization initiatives when they are supported by a business case analysis and are in the best interest of the government in terms of efficiency, operating cost, and mission assurance.”