Making sure military families on large Army posts have what they need to thrive is a big, intensive job—and it extends beyond the installation gates, a panel of leaders said Oct. 11.
While the Army is making progress on improving quality of life programs for soldiers and their families, there’s more work to be done, two senior leaders said.
Lt. Gen. Kevin Vereen, deputy Army chief of staff for installations, G-9, said he and his senior enlisted adviser, Sgt. Maj. Michael Perry, pay close attention to many of the most pressing issues facing soldiers and their families, including food insecurity, aging infrastructure and access to child care.
The Army continues to prioritize its installations and housing as part of its efforts to improve quality of life for soldiers and families while modernizing and hardening its posts against future threats, a senior leader told lawmakers.
The Army is committed to improving its installations and ensuring they are modern and resilient, a senior Army leader told lawmakers.
“Installations are at the epicenter of everything we do in the Army,” Rachel Jacobson, assistant Army secretary for installations, energy and environment, said during a hearing before the House Armed Services subcommittee on readiness. “They’re where we train, work, learn and live. To strengthen Army readiness and build the force of the future, we must be laser-focused on providing state-of-the-art installations.”
With more than 200,000 buildings on its installations around the world, the Army faces a maintenance backlog worth several billion dollars, according to a new report from the Congressional Budget Office.
The report, which analyzed 49,000 of those buildings in use on 88 Army installations across the U.S., estimates that “the cost of eliminating the deferred maintenance backlog and returning the buildings to the Army’s standards would be about $19 billion.”
Maintenance issues, including response times and communication, were among the top concerns cited by soldiers and family members in the Army’s 2022 housing tenant satisfaction survey.
Overall, the survey found a slight decrease in customer satisfaction for residents in privatized, Army-owned and government-leased housing on Army posts.
Garrisons are the most complex colonel-level commands in the Army.
As climate change continues to impact many aspects of modern life, the Army must prepare for its effects on installations and operations, a panel of experts said during a discussion hosted by the Association of the U.S. Army.
Climate change is “a challenge that does not respect borders or boundaries, including the fence line of a military base,” said Sharon Burke, founder and president of Ecospherics and a former assistant secretary of defense for operational energy.
Army efforts to improve the resilience and security of its installations require close cooperation with contractors and communities, Lt. Gen. Jason Evans, deputy Army chief of staff for installations, said April 13.
Installations “are no longer a sanctuary,” Evans said. Instead, they would be considered part of the front line of future warfare. Preparing for this culture change requires a new breed of installation commander and staff who will need ongoing and up-to-date training, he said.
Army installations must prepare for increasing threats from nature and from America’s adversaries, a panel of experts said during an Association of the U.S. Army event.
Speaking about threats to critical infrastructure during an April 13 AUSA Hot Topic on installation management, the experts warned that threats are on the rise, and they are growing in complexity.