Department of Defense Military barracks are in “poor conditions” A recent government monitoring report found that some living spaces pose “potentially significant health and safety risks” to service members.
According to information from September report The Government Accountability Board says some soldiers live in barracks in “degrading living conditions” that “impair quality of life and readiness.” A government watchdog has found “weaknesses” in the Pentagon’s efforts to maintain living conditions in the barracks.
It said conditions for military personnel were “unreliable” and in some cases “substandard.”
“GAO observed barracks that could pose significant health and safety risks, including broken windows and inoperable firefighting equipment, and found that they did not meet the Department of Defense’s minimum standards for privacy and organization. ” states the report.
Officials have told monitoring groups that thousands of military personnel are living in less than ideal conditions.
GAO noted that it had previously reported problems with barracks conditions in 2002 and 2003. At the time, “most training barracks” required “substantial repairs,” often lacking “adequate heating and air conditioning,” lacking proper ventilation, and “plumbing-related deficiencies.”
GAO recently toured 10 campuses and interviewed officials and residents and found that substandard conditions “raise questions about the Department of Defense’s barracks management.”
One barrack had a condition score of over 90 but was still closed as “uninhabitable.” Former residents told the watchdog they frequently dealt with “clogged showers, broken door locks, broken elevators, and obvious mold growth.” Senior noncommissioned officers described conditions in the barracks as “unacceptable.”
According to the report, residential properties in Washington, D.C. received a condition score of 86, but air conditioning units in 25% of the rooms were inoperable. In addition, the barracks had his 12 windows and a broken elevator.
“Soldiers met at the facility stated that living without air conditioning in the barracks was a continuing misery on hot days, especially after being outside all day at work or training,” the GAO said.
Service members alerted GAO to the presence of mold and pests, malfunctioning fire alarms and deteriorating water quality.
“Officials at one facility said service members are responsible for cleaning up any biological waste that may remain in barracks rooms after a suicide,” the report notes.
GAO noticed an “unusual odor” at the facility, which officials said was caused by a methane gas leak from an aging sewer pipe.
The watchdog reported that poor living conditions “can pose significant risks to the physical and mental health and safety of service members.”
He added that despite a Department of Defense requirement, no military branch regularly assesses the impact of barracks conditions on service members’ reenlistment decisions.
GAO made 31 recommendations to the Department of Defense to better preserve and improve living conditions for service members. The ministry “agreed” with 23 of the recommendations and “partially agreed” with the rest. The Pentagon has promised to update the barracks and its monitoring procedures.
“GAO continues to believe that the Department of Defense should fully implement all of these recommendations,” the report concludes.
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