SHINGLE SPRINGS, CA — The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) is currently funding a three-phase initiative to improve military housing. The three phases will include privatization to increase the amount of housing built and maintained by private developers, funding to improve current housing and maintain it at a higher level, and an increase in housing allowances to reduce out-of-pocket expenses for service members.

According to Carlton Engineering, a West Coast architecture and engineering firm, each branch of the U.S. military is striving for new housing facilities that would closely mirror homes found in typical American neighborhoods. The firm also says that traditional military housing is giving way to larger, single-family homes and duplexes for military families and dormitory-style residences for the junior ranks.

Up to two-thirds of on-base housing is classified as “inadequate” or “needing renovation or replacement” according to DOD statistics. Many of the structures that are currently available to military officers were built 40 or 50 years ago.

“Military housing infrastructure is aging, and there’s a lot going wrong with the houses,” said Alan Carlton, president of Carlton Engineering. “It’s important to upgrade facilities since it can be tough to retain people in the military — especially ranking officers — when the only available housing offers limited space and is in deteriorating condition.”

Carlton also says that architects for military housing are looking more towards the private sector when designing military facilities. The firm says that it may be some time before neighborhood amenities like clubhouses and swimming pools are commonplace on military installations, but parks, playgrounds, tennis and basketball courts, and meeting halls are cropping up more frequently.

Publication date: 08/05/2002