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Immediate Release

DOD Releases Resilient and Healthy Defense Communities Strategy

The Department of Defense today released its Resilient and Healthy Defense Communities (RHDC) Strategy, which will guide the Department's actions in the coming years to improve the built and natural environment on defense installations. Directly supporting the Secretary of Defense's priority to take care of our people, the strategy focuses on improving the quality of life for Service members, their families, and the DoD civilian workforce.

"It is both a national security imperative and our moral obligation to ensure the spaces where our people live, work, and train are healthy, functional, and resilient," said Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks. "This strategy focusing on improving our defense installations reflects the Department's ongoing commitment to take care of our people and improve the quality of life of our Service members and their families. It ensures we put our people's experiences at the very center of our recruit and retain approach."

280,000 buildings across 538 installations and approximately 26 million acres of land support the Department's more than two million military and civilian personnel and their families. These built and natural spaces are central to their military experience, affecting their physical and mental health, ability to carry out their missions, and the overall recruitment and retention of the force.

"Our military and civilian workforce rightfully expects a place to live and work that enhances their quality of life," said Dr. William LaPlante, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment. "We owe it to our Service members and their families to honor the sacrifices they are voluntarily making by creating environments that help our total force bring their best self to the mission—and this strategy will help ensure we are aligning our resources to outcomes which do exactly that."

While the strategy acknowledges that improving the Department's vast infrastructure footprint is a significant undertaking, it recognizes the opportunity to reduce the gap that persists between installation conditions today and the quality standards Service members and their families deserve. To do so, the strategy aims to focus efforts on three ways:

  1. Adopting human-centered requirements to help create environments that do not just meet utilitarian needs and compliance standards, but promote purpose, productivity, and camaraderie.
  2. Optimizing the Department's footprint to ensure the scale and scope of its infrastructure is aligned with the needs of DoD's people and their mission.
  3. Transforming how the Department manages its portfolio by adopting a sustainment management strategy to help target investments that have the greatest impact on the condition of DoD facilities.

"This strategy represents an important step forward for the Department and our people, but it is a starting point rather than a finish line," Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations, and Environment Brendan Owens added. "We have a lot of hard work ahead of us and I look forward to continued partnership across each of the Military Services to finalize the RHDC implementation plan and subsequently execute it relentlessly."

Read the full Resilient and Healthy Defense Communities Strategy.