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Proposed Budget Boosts DoD Housing Program

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 5, 2004 – The Defense Department is set to replace all of its substandard military family housing units by 2009, a senior DoD official told a congressional committee March 3.

The proposed fiscal 2005 DoD budget "allows the department to stay on track to eliminate nearly all of its inadequate military family housing units by FY 2007, with complete elimination by 2009," noted Philip W. Grone in prepared remarks for the House Subcommittee on Military Construction. He is principal deputy undersecretary of defense for installations and environment.

Out of its $401.7 billion fiscal 2005 budget proposal, Grone noted DoD is requesting $4.2 billion to construct, operate and maintain military family housing. That money, he said, represents a $200 million increase over last year's budget.

And the $1.6 billion slated for family housing construction in fiscal 2005 is $400 million more than last year's budget, Grone pointed out, and will be used for both traditional, military-sourced construction projects and those provided by privatization agreements.

"Our current plans are to privatize a cumulative total of over 136,000 units by the end of FY 2005," Grone said, noting DoD expects to privatize more than 59 percent of its existing family housing in the continental U.S. and territories by then.

Using privatization for military family housing projects, Grone pointed out, "speeds fixing our inadequate housing in comparison to the traditional military construction process" while providing a quality product.

"Our current plan is to privatize the majority of our CONUS family housing," he said.

Grone said the number of inadequate military family housing units across DoD dropped from 180,000 in 2001 to 120,000 in 2003.

And by the end of FY 2005, Grone noted, "we will have reduced the number of inadequate housing units to roughly 61,000."

DoD is also committed to "help service members who live off base to afford good quality housing and improve their options," Grone declared.

Therefore, he said, the proposed DoD budget request "includes necessary funding to ensure that the typical service member living in the private sector will have zero out-of-pocket housing expenses."

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