The days of footlocker-living with 60 or more of their closest friends--andsharing a bathroom with them--are now numbered for U. S. troops.
Bachelorsoldiers, sailors, and airmen can look forward in the future to living inbarracks that resemble small efficiency apartments, and sharing the bathoomwith just one other person.
All this will come about because Secretary of Defense William J. Perry hasapproved a new standard for construction of housing for single enlistedpersonnel at their permanent duty locations.
Popularly known as "1 plus 1,"the new standard, signed off by Perry on November 6, 1995, includes thefollowing:
Mini-apartments providing two living/sleeping rooms (each about 118 squarefeet) , as well as a bathroom, closets, and a service area/kitchenette.
Theapartments will normally accommodate two service members in the ranks E-1through E-4, or one person ranked E-5 or above.
New size standards for the total building based upon the number of apartmentsand design factors.
The "1 plus 1" barracks standard represents another step towards improvedquality of life for all servicemen and women.
Perry's approval of "1 plus 1"responds to feedback from an all-service barracks/dormitory survey conductedin 1992 .
In that survey, more than 2200 personnel listed as their topconcerns the need for more living space and room privacy.
The constructionchange does not apply to barracks for boot camp recruits.
The transformation of old barracks into 1990's-style singles living will nothappen overnight.
The military departments, however, have made a strongcommitment to upgrading barracks quality and are adopting the new standardwherever possible beginning with fiscal year 1996 construction. Their plans forimplementation vary because each service has a different mix of existingbarracks and faces different constraints.
During the next 20 years, plans call for the opportunity for E-1 through E-4personnel to live in private rooms at their permanent duty stations to increasefrom about 50,000 to more than 275,000.
At the same time, the number ofbarracks spaces for permanently stationed personnel served by centrallavatories will be reduced from about 116,000 to less than 1,000.
In addition,barracks spaces grouped into rooms for three or more people will fall from morethan 123,000 to about 30,000.
The DoD realizes that construction of mini-apartments under the new standardis going to be more costly per occupant than under the former "2 plus 2" rule.(The "2 plus 2" rule, which was the standard since 1983, built suites for fourpeople consisting of two double rooms and a shared bathroom.) The serviceshave different strategies to identify and make effective use of availablefunding.
Their plans include relying more, in some cases, on housing in thelocal community and some conversion of older on-base buildings.
The MarineCorps will emphasize replacing large numbers of wholly inadequate units withthe less expensive "2 plus 2" modules until a better level of overall qualityof life is reached Marine Corps-wide.
The Department has concluded that the extra costs required to provide betterhousing for uniform personnel will pay off.
The investment promises increasedretention rates, reduced recruiting and training costs and will boost moraleand productivity.