oversight

Military Housing: Status of the Services' Implementation of the Current Barracks Design Standard

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1999-03-24.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                  United States General Accounting Office

GAO               Report to the Honorable
                  Pat Roberts, U.S. Senate



March 1999
                  MILITARY HOUSING
                  Status of the Services’
                  Implementation of the
                  Current Barracks
                  Design Standard




GAO/NSIAD-99-52
                   United States
GAO                General Accounting Office
                   Washington, D.C. 20548

                   National Security and
                   International Affairs Division

                   B-281734

                   March 24, 1999

                   The Honorable Pat Roberts
                   United States Senate

                   Dear Senator Roberts:

                   The Department of Defense (DOD) expects most single junior enlisted
                   servicemembers to live on base in furnished living quarters commonly
                   referred to as barracks. In November 1995, DOD adopted a new barracks
                   construction standard, referred to as the 1+1 design standard, that called
                   for more space and increased privacy in new barracks for servicemembers
                   permanently assigned to an installation. The new standard, which does not
                   apply to barracks for members in basic recruit or initial skill training,
                   provides each junior enlisted member with a private sleeping room and a
                   kitchenette and bath shared by one other member. Under certain
                   circumstances,1 the service secretaries may approve waivers from the 1+1
                   standard to allow the use of alternative barracks designs. Appendix I
                   shows typical floor plan diagrams for the 1+1 and two alternative barracks
                   designs. Originally, the services estimated that about $10 billion would be
                   spent implementing the new standard over a 20-year period.

                   Because of the importance of the military’s barracks program and the
                   significant costs involved in upgrading barracks to meet the new standard,
                   you requested that we review DOD’s barracks program in the United States.
                   Specifically, we determined (1) the status of the services’ implementation
                   of the 1+1 barracks design standard; (2) DOD’s rationale for adopting the
                   standard; (3) the costs of alternatives to the 1+1 standard; and (4) service
                   views of the impact of the standard from a team-building, individual
                   isolation, or similar perspective.


                   Except for the Marine Corps, the services embraced the 1+1 barracks
Results in Brief   design standard and in fiscal year 1996 began building new and renovating
                   older barracks to conform to the new standard. In fiscal years 1996-99,
                   about $1.5 billion in funding was approved for 124 military construction
                   projects designed to provide over 29,000 barracks spaces meeting the 1+1
                   design standard. Also, to provide increased privacy in existing barracks
                   over a phased time period, the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force plan to

                   1
                    DOD policy allows the standard to be waived if (1) unique mission requirements or operational
                   commitments are better served by congregate living or (2) the collective quality of life for members
                   would be more enhanced by constructing to a lesser standard but providing new quarters to a larger
                   number of members.



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assign one member to existing rooms designed for two members and two
members to existing rooms designed for three members. When required,
the barracks capacity lost through this practice will be regained through
construction of new 1+1 barracks. In lieu of the 1+1 design, the Marine
Corps is building new barracks with two-person sleeping rooms for junior
Marines.

DOD  justified the adoption of the 1+1 standard primarily as an investment
in quality of life aimed at improving military readiness and retention.
Although barracks improvements do enhance individuals’ quality of life, to
what degree is unknown because quality of life is inherently difficult to
quantify. DOD has not developed any direct, quantitative evidence showing
that barracks improvements, as distinct from other factors, result in
improved readiness and retention. Even with existing barracks conditions,
the services have achieved their first-term retention goals for the past
3 fiscal years with only one exception. In fiscal year 1998, the Air Force
missed its first-term retention goal by 1 percentage point. Information
collected from members that do not reenlist has shown that many factors
other than housing, such as pay and promotion opportunities, are usually
cited as the reasons for leaving the military.

Our comparison of barracks construction costs associated with alternative
design standards showed significant differences in the amount of funds
that would be required over and above what has already been funded. For
example, fully implementing the 1+1 standard (2 bedrooms, 1 bath,
kitchenette, 2 persons) in all services, including the Marine Corps, would
cost an additional $13.7 billion. Fully implementing the Marine Corps’ 2+0
standard (1 bedroom, 1 bath, 2 persons) in all services would cost an
additional $3.1 billion. Finally, fully implementing the barracks standard
used prior to November 1995, the 2+2 standard (2 bedrooms, 1 bath, 4
persons), would cost an additional $1.7 billion. DOD officials believe that
only the 1+1 standard meets their concerns for improving quality of life
and that changing standards at this point would result in inequities in the
barracks inventory and could be perceived by members as a promise not
kept.

Only the Marine Corps voiced concerns over the 1+1 design standard.
Because of the isolation provided in private rooms, the Marine Corps
believes the 1+1 standard does not allow for the unit cohesion and team
building needed to reinforce Marine Corps values and develop a stronger
bond among junior Marines. For this reason, the Marine Corps obtained a
permanent waiver from the Secretary of the Navy to use a different



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             barracks design standard—one sleeping room and bath shared by two
             junior Marines. The other services believe that the 1+1 standard does not
             include these negative aspects because the standard applies only to
             permanent party personnel, not to recruits or initial trainees; members of
             the same unit normally are assigned to the same barracks or area so that
             unit integrity is maintained; and barracks occupants continue to have
             adequate interaction with other occupants.


             About 374,000 single, active-duty enlisted servicemembers are housed in
Background   the United States. Of this number, about 212,000 are permanently assigned
             to installations and live in barracks, about 96,000 receive a housing
             allowance and live off base in civilian communities near military
             installations, about 36,000 live on Navy ships, and about 30,000 live in
             barracks while in recruit or other short-term training. Most permanently
             assigned junior members living in barracks share a sleeping room and bath
             with one or two others. In many older barracks, everyone living on a hall
             or floor shares a communal bathroom, or central latrine.

             The Secretary of Defense is required to establish uniform barracks
             construction standards that define size limitations for newly constructed
             permanent barracks.2 Over the years, barracks construction standards
             have changed to provide for increased space and privacy. Prior to the
             1970s, most permanent party barracks consisted of large, open-bay rooms
             with central latrines shared by many members. To meet the needs of the
             all-volunteer force, DOD adopted a new barracks standard in 1972. This
             standard provided a 270-square-foot room for three junior members that
             also shared a bath. Citing the need to provide more space for all pay
             grades, DOD adopted a new construction standard in 1983. This standard,
             known as the 2+2 design, consisted of a module with two,
             180-net-square-foot sleeping rooms and a shared bath. With this design,
             two junior enlisted members normally would occupy each sleeping room,
             and four members would share a bath.

             The current 1+1 design standard provides a barracks module consisting of
             two private sleeping rooms, each with 118 net square feet, a bath, and a
             kitchenette. Two junior enlisted members in pay grades E-1 through E-4
             are assigned to each module with each member having a private sleeping
             room. Normally, enlisted members in pay grades E-5 and above are



             2
              This requirement is contained in 10 U.S.C. 2856.



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                    assigned the entire module, using one sleeping room as a living room.3
                    Citing concerns over unit cohesion and team building, the Marine Corps
                    obtained a permanent waiver from the Secretary of the Navy from using
                    the 1+1 design standard in its new barracks construction. The Marine
                    Corps prefers to use a barracks standard known as the 2+0 design, which
                    provides a 180-net-square-foot room with a bath. Normally, either two
                    junior Marines in pay grades E-1 through E-3 or one Marine in pay grade
                    E-4 or E-5 are assigned to each room.

                    Because the design standards apply to the construction of new barracks,
                    adequacy of the existing barracks for housing members may not
                    necessarily change. DOD separately establishes minimum standards of
                    acceptable space and privacy for members assigned to existing barracks.
                    For example, the current minimum assignment standard for permanent
                    party personnel in pay grades E-1 through E-4 is 90 square feet of net living
                    area per person, not more than four persons to a room, and a central
                    latrine. When this assignment standard cannot be met or when space is not
                    available, installation commanders can authorize single members to live
                    off base and receive a housing allowance. Regardless of the availability of
                    adequate barracks space, senior personnel in pay grades E-7 through E-9
                    may elect to live off base and receive a housing allowance.


                    With the exception of the Marine Corps, the services have embraced the
Status of the 1+1   1+1 design standard and began building new and renovating older
Barracks Program    barracks in accordance with the standard in fiscal year 1996. As shown in
                    table 1, through fiscal year 1999, about $1.5 billion in funding was
                    approved for 124 barracks projects designed to provide over 29,000
                    barracks spaces meeting the 1+1 design standard.




                    3
                     The Air Force does not program barracks space for members in pay grades E-5 and above. If space is
                    available, these members may be assigned to the barracks under the assignment standards applicable
                    to members in pay grades E-1 through E-4.



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Table 1: 1+1 Barracks Projects
Approved Through Fiscal Year 1999   Dollars in millions
                                                                              Number of               Number of
                                    Service                                     projects                spacesa                       Costa
                                    Army                                                44                 12,500                      $680
                                    Navy                                                25                  7,100                       336
                                    Air Force                                           51                  6,900                       425
                                                                                           b
                                    Marine Corps                                         4                  2,700                       106
                                    Total                                             124                  29,200                     $1,547
                                    a
                                     For projects not yet under construction, the data reflects the spaces and costs in the project
                                    justifications. For projects under construction or completed, the data reflects the services’
                                    estimates of actual spaces and costs at the time of our review.
                                    b
                                     Although the Marine Corps prefers the 2+0 design, base realignment and closure decisions
                                    resulted in approval and direct funding of four barracks projects for the Marines that used the
                                    DOD 1+1 design standard.



                                    Except for the Marine Corps, each service has adopted a plan for
                                    improving its barracks and implementing the 1+1 standard. According to
                                    service officials, the plans generally call for (1) eliminating barracks with
                                    central latrines primarily through construction of new 1+1 barracks,
                                    (2) providing members with increased privacy and approximating the 1+1
                                    standard in existing barracks by assigning one member to rooms originally
                                    designed for two members or two persons to rooms originally designed for
                                    three persons,4 (3) constructing new 1+1 barracks to meet existing
                                    barracks shortages and to regain capacity lost when fewer members are
                                    assigned to existing rooms, and (4) replacing existing barracks at the end
                                    of their economic life with new 1+1 barracks. The services, as discussed
                                    below, estimated that an additional $7.4 billion would be required to
                                    implement their plans and approximate the 1+1 standard. The Marine
                                    Corps’ plan is similar to the other services’ plans except that it calls for
                                    implementation of the 2+0 barracks design standard in lieu of the 1+1
                                    design.

                                    In its plan, the Army estimated that about $3 billion would be required
                                    through fiscal year 2008 to approximate the 1+1 standard for about 84,000
                                    servicemembers in the United States in pay grades E-1 through E-6. When
                                    the Army meets this goal, about 38 percent of the Army’s barracks spaces
                                    will meet all requirements of the 1+1 standard. The balance of the spaces
                                    will consist of existing (1) private sleeping rooms that do not meet all
                                    requirements of the 1+1 standard and (2) multiperson rooms that have
                                    been downloaded. The Army’s barracks strategy also provides for

                                    4
                                     This practice is referred to as downloading.



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improving the entire barracks community. As such, many Army barracks
construction projects include construction of new company operations
buildings, battalion and brigade headquarters buildings, soldier community
buildings, and dining facilities. The Army is also developing a barracks
master plan that will include an installation-by-installation assessment of
barracks conditions and detailed plans for replacement or renovation to
meet requirements of the 1+1 design standard. The master plan is to be
completed by September 1999. The Army has approved no waivers to the
1+1 standard for barracks projects in the United States.

In 1997, the Air Force completed a comprehensive barracks master plan
that defines the Air Force’s long-range barracks investment strategy and
lays out a road map for implementing the 1+1 standard. The Air Force’s
strategy calls for providing private sleeping rooms for permanent party
servicemembers in pay grades E-1 through E-4 by downloading existing
2+2 rooms and constructing new 1+1 rooms to regain the lost capacity.
The strategy also calls for paying housing allowances for single members
in pay grades E-5 and above to live off base. The Air Force estimated that
about $750 million would be required through fiscal year 2009 to
approximate the 1+1 standard for about 48,000 members in the United
States in pay grades E-1 through E-4. The Air Force has approved no
waivers to the 1+1 standard for barracks projects in the United States.

The Navy estimated that about $2.9 billion would be required through
fiscal year 2013 to approximate the 1+1 design standard worldwide. The
Navy’s strategy calls for (1) providing barracks space for about 36,000
permanent party, shore-based single servicemembers in pay grades E-1
through E-4 in the United States; (2) paying housing allowances to most
members in pay grades E-5 and above to live off base; and (3) continuing
to house about 36,000 single members in pay grades E-1 through E-4
assigned to large ships, on the ships, rather than in barracks, even when
the ships are in their homeports. The Navy is developing a barracks master
plan that will include an installation-by-installation assessment of barracks
conditions and detailed plans for barracks replacement or renovation to
meet requirements of the 1+1 design standard. The master plan is
scheduled to be completed by April 1999.

The Navy has approved waivers from using the 1+1 design standard for
four projects in the United States, and one additional waiver request was
pending.5 The waivers were granted because these installations could

5
 The majority of the waivers included the expectation that the 1+1 standard would still be achieved by
fiscal year 2013.



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                       improve barracks conditions more quickly and for more members by
                       building the projects using a lower and less costly standard. In addition,
                       two of the projects were for barracks designed for Navy personnel
                       assigned to Marine Corps installations. In these cases, the waiver
                       justifications also stated that the barracks should use the Marine Corps
                       2+0 design standard to be compatible with other barracks at the
                       installations.

                       In July 1998, the Secretary of the Navy approved the Marine Corps’ request
                       for a permanent waiver to allow the use of the 2+0 barracks design
                       standard in lieu of the 1+1 design standard. The waiver request stated that
                       Marine Corps junior members in pay grades E-1 through E-3 would live in
                       two-person rooms and that private rooms would be provided for members
                       in pay grades E-4 and above. Through fiscal year 1999, about $205 million
                       was approved for 16 Marine Corps 2+0 barracks projects that will provide
                       about 5,900 barracks spaces. The Marine Corps’ strategy calls for
                       providing barracks space for permanent party single servicemembers in
                       pay grades E-1 through E-5 and paying housing allowances for most
                       members in pay grades E-6 and above to live off base. The Marine Corps
                       estimated that about $725 million would be required through fiscal
                       year 2022 to approximate the 2+0 standard worldwide. A Marine Corps
                       official stated that a barracks master plan similar to the other services
                       plans is under development.


                       DOD  primarily justified the adoption of the 1+1 barracks design standard in
DOD’s Justification    1995 as an investment in quality of life aimed at improving readiness,
for Adopting the 1+1   retention, and motivation of a professional, all-volunteer armed force. In a
Standard               December 1995 report to the House and Senate Committees on
                       Appropriations,6 DOD stated that “savings in recruiting, training, and
                       productivity will offset the quality-of-life investment. To what degree is
                       impossible to say, but focusing only on the barracks cost would risk
                       missing those savings.” DOD further stated that the new standard addressed
                       the results of a 1992 triservice survey of barracks occupants at 12
                       installations. The survey showed that servicemembers were dissatisfied
                       with the privacy and living space offered with the previous design
                       standard and wanted larger rooms, private rooms, private baths, and more




                       6
                       Troop Housing: Establishment of Standard for Construction of New, Permanent Party Barracks,
                       Office of the Secretary of Defense, December 1995.



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storage space.7 Hence, DOD concluded that continuing to build more of the
same type of barracks would have been unwise.

According to DOD officials, adoption of the 1+1 standard also reflected an
attempt to treat single servicemembers in a more equitable manner
compared to married servicemembers who normally live in multiroom
houses. More equitable treatment of single members in housing was a
matter of concern expressed by the House Armed Services Committee in
1993.8 To illustrate, married members in pay grades E-1 through E-4 living
on base normally are assigned to a house with at least 950 square feet, two
bedrooms, a full kitchen, a family room, and one or one and a half baths. If
available, housing with a separate bedroom for each dependent child is
provided. In comparison, single members in pay grades E-1 through E-4
living on base in barracks designed under the standard in place prior to
1995 would live in a 180-square-foot room shared with another member
and would share a bath with three other members.

We agree with DOD that the 1+1 design standard reduces the differences in
housing for married and single members. We also agree that improved
barracks enhance individual quality of life. However, to what extent is
unknown because quality of life is inherently difficult to quantify. Quality
of life is a complex issue reflected in a delicate mix of variables such as
balancing personal life and the demands of military service, adequate pay
and benefits, and many other factors. DOD officials stated that no
quantitative measures directly link a single quality-of-life element, such as
barracks quality, with readiness or retention. Without such data, there is
little evidence to support DOD’s assumption that improved barracks will
result in improved readiness and higher enlisted retention rates.

Even with existing barracks conditions, the services have met most
retention goals over the past 3 fiscal years. In particular, according to
service officials, the large majority of barracks occupants are serving in
their first term of enlistment, and except in one instance, the services have
achieved their first-term retention goals for fiscal years 1996-98. In the one
instance, the Air Force missed its first-term retention goal by 1 percentage
point in fiscal year 1998. Further, information collected from members that
do not reenlist has shown that factors other than housing, such as pay and



7
 A May 1995 Air Force quality-of-life survey also reported that 88 percent of the single, enlisted
respondents stated that the factor that would most improve their quality of life was a private room.
8
 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1993, House Armed Services Committee Report
102-527.



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                       promotion opportunities, are usually cited as the reasons members leave
                       the military.

                       We also noted that the 1992 triservice barracks survey, cited as part of the
                       justification for the 1+1 standard, was somewhat limited in scope. The
                       survey began in October 1991 when the Air Force collected information
                       from four installations and was expanded in March and April 1992 to
                       include three Army, three Navy, and two Marine Corps installations.
                       Although the survey showed that about 2,200 Army, Navy, and Marine
                       Corps barracks occupants participated in the voluntary survey,
                       documentation was not clear on how many Air Force members
                       participated or how the survey participants were selected. The survey
                       included 96 questions, and participants were asked to respond to many
                       questions on a scale of “very satisfied” to “very dissatisfied” or “very
                       important” to “not at all important.”

                       The survey also included some interesting results that DOD has not usually
                       cited. For example, 84 percent of the participants reported that they
                       preferred to receive a housing allowance and live off base rather than live
                       in the barracks. The preference to live off base could continue regardless
                       of the type or quality of barracks provided and thereby result in members’
                       continued dissatisfaction with the barracks. Also, when participants were
                       asked, how satisfied or dissatisfied they were with their barracks or
                       dormitory room, 53 percent responded that they were dissatisfied
                       (34 percent) or very dissatisfied (19 percent). At the same time, only
                       46 percent responded to a similar question that they were dissatisfied or
                       very dissatisfied with living on the installation. Although these numbers
                       show that about half of the respondents were dissatisfied with the
                       barracks, the other half reported that they were not dissatisfied with their
                       housing. Finally, when asked, what one improvement in the barracks or
                       dormitory would most increase retention of enlisted personnel, the most
                       mentioned improvement, cited by 35 percent of the respondents, was
                       fewer rules and restrictions for barracks occupants and freedom from
                       command inspections. A private room was the second most mentioned
                       improvement, cited by 24 percent of the respondents.


                       We compared the costs of constructing barracks using the 1+1 design
Costs of Alternative   standard to the costs of constructing barracks using other design
Barracks Designs       standards, specifically the 2+0 design used by the Marine Corps and the
                       2+2 design that was the previous barracks design standard. The
                       comparison showed significant cost differences among the designs. For



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                                      example, the estimated cost to construct a single barracks space using the
                                      1+1 design standard for a member in pay grades E-1 through E-4 was
                                      about $63,000. The comparable construction costs using the 2+0 design
                                      standard was about $41,000. Using the 2+2 design standard, the
                                      comparable cost was about $38,000 for each barracks space. The designs
                                      have different costs primarily because of differences in each design’s
                                      maximum building area per occupant. For example, the maximum gross
                                      building area for each junior member occupant is 355, 229, and 213 square
                                      feet for the 1+1, 2+0, and 2+2 designs, respectively.

                                      Table 2 shows the cost per occupant for each of the designs. Costs are
                                      higher for members in pay grades E-5 and above because barracks
                                      assignment policies normally provide these members with double the
                                      space provided to junior members.

Table 2: Barracks Construction Cost
Estimates for Each Occupant           Pay gradesa                              1+1 design              2+0 design              2+2 design
                                      E-1 - E-4                                    $63,000                 $41,000                 $38,000
                                      E-5 and above                              $126,000                  $82,000                 $76,000
                                      Note: The estimates reflect fiscal year 2000 costs for institutional-style construction and include
                                      adjustments for geographic area cost differences; support costs; contingencies; and supervision,
                                      inspections, and overhead.
                                      a
                                      For the Marine Corps, the paygrade categories are E-1 through E-3 and E-4 and above.



                                      We also estimated the total additional cost for the services to fully
                                      implement each of the three design standards. Specifically, using the cost
                                      estimates for each design and the services’ estimates of barracks
                                      requirements and configuration after the completion of projects funded
                                      through fiscal year 1999, we estimated the additional funds required to
                                      provide all planned barracks occupants with spaces that comply with each
                                      of the standards. Table 3 summarizes our estimates.




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Table 3: Estimated Additional Funds
Required to Fully Implement             Dollars in millions
Alternative Barracks Design Standards                                             1+1 full               2+0 full                2+2 full
                                        Service                            implementation         implementation          implementation
                                        Army                                          $4,927                   $878                    $490
                                        Air Force                                      2,626                     290                        0
                                        Navy                                           2,130                     702                       474
                                        Marine Corps                                   4,024                   1,245                       710
                                        Total                                       $13,707                  $3,115                  $1,674
                                        Note: Our cost estimates to fully implement the 1+1 standard differ from the services’ estimates
                                        noted earlier because their estimates reflected an approximate 1+1 standard. With an
                                        approximate 1+1 standard, many servicemembers occupy downloaded rooms that do not meet
                                        all 1+1 requirements.



                                        We included the Marine Corps in our calculations, even though its current
                                        plan is to implement the 2+0 standard in lieu of the 1+1 standard. The total
                                        additional cost to fully implement the 1+1 standard in the Army, the Navy,
                                        and the Air Force and the 2+0 standard in the Marine Corps, as currently
                                        planned, is about $10.9 billion. In comparison, if all services used the 2+0
                                        design standard, they would need about $3.1 billion to fully implement the
                                        standard—or about $7.8 billion less than the current plan; and if all
                                        services used the 2+2 standard, they would need about $1.7 billion to fully
                                        implement the standard—or about $9.2 billion less than the current plan.

                                        Although DOD officials agreed that costs associated with the 1+1 design are
                                        significantly higher, they stated that the less costly designs do not relieve
                                        their concerns for improving quality of life. Army, Navy, and Air Force
                                        officials stated that the reasons for initially adopting the 1+1 design—to
                                        improve quality of life and provide more equity in housing for single and
                                        married members—continue to be valid. In addition, they noted that a
                                        considerable investment, about $1.5 billion, has already been made in
                                        implementing the 1+1 standard and that changing the standard would
                                        result in inequities in the barracks inventory. Further, the officials
                                        expressed concern that abandoning the 1+1 design and its improvements
                                        could be perceived by members as a promise not kept and consequently
                                        have an adverse impact on morale.


                                        Marine Corps officials stated that the higher cost of the 1+1 design was a
Service Views of the                    concern to them. For 2 years, the Marine Corps obtained a waiver allowing
1+1 Design                              use of the 2+0 design on the basis that they could improve barracks
                                        conditions faster by using the less costly design. The Marine Corps also



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                     sees an additional drawback to the 1+1 standard. Specifically, because of
                     the increased isolation provided in private sleeping rooms, the Marine
                     Corps believes that the 1+1 standard does not allow for the unit cohesion
                     and team building needed to reinforce Corps values and develop a
                     stronger bond among junior Marines. It was for this reason that the Marine
                     Corps obtained a permanent waiver from using the 1+1 design for Marines
                     in pay grades E-1 through E-3.

                     Army, Navy, and Air Force officials stated that they do not see any
                     negative aspects to the 1+1 standard from an individual isolation or
                     team-building perspective. They stated that the standard is used only for
                     permanent party personnel, not for recruits or initial trainees; whenever
                     possible, members of the same unit are assigned to the same barracks or
                     area so that unit integrity is maintained; and barracks occupants continue
                     to have adequate interaction with other occupants. These officials also
                     noted that the Marine Corps’ first-term retention goals are significantly
                     lower than the goals of the other services. As a result, they believed that
                     the potential benefits from improved quality of life provided by private
                     sleeping rooms outweighed any potential drawbacks from increased
                     isolation in private rooms.


                     Although the 1+1 barracks standard improves the quality of life for single
Conclusions          servicemembers and to some degree addresses housing differences
                     between single and married members, DOD has no quantifiable evidence
                     that barracks improvements result in improved readiness and retention.
                     Implementing the 2+0 or 2+2 design standard in lieu of the 1+1 standard
                     would be significantly less costly to the military; however, the less costly
                     designs do not alleviate DOD’s concerns about improving servicemembers’
                     quality of life. Whether the 1+1 standard has drawbacks from an individual
                     isolation or team-building standpoint appears to be a matter of military
                     judgment that varies depending on each service’s culture, mission, and
                     goals. Ultimately, the barracks design standard decision is a qualitative
                     policy decision.


                     In written comments on a draft of this report, DOD affirmed its
Agency Comments      commitment to providing quality housing for single members stating that
and Our Evaluation   improved quality of life is a critical component to attracting and retaining
                     high quality personnel. While recognizing our assessment that measuring
                     the impact of improved barracks on individual quality of life, retention,
                     and readiness is inherently difficult, DOD maintained that providing more



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privacy and amenities in the barracks is important in order to address
concerns raised by single servicemembers. DOD stated it has no precise
measures linking barracks improvements to retention and readiness
because (1) few 1+1 barracks have been completed, which limits the
availability of data for analysis, and (2) the quality of home life is just one
of many factors affecting individuals’ quality of life, and individuals’ quality
of life is just one of many factors affecting readiness.

DOD commented that in discussing the reasons that DOD adopted the 1+1
standard, we should have mentioned a May 1995 Air Force quality-of-life
survey. This survey reported that barracks occupants cited privacy as their
number one concern. We have added to our report a reference to the Air
Force survey. We had considered this survey during our review but did not
originally mention it because (1) its key barracks-related finding of privacy
was the same as the key finding from the 1992 triservice survey, which we
do discuss, and (2) DOD officials more frequently cited the 1992 triservice
survey results as documentation of servicemembers’ dissatisfaction with
their barracks.

DOD  commented that although the 1992 triservice survey found that the
majority of the survey participants preferred to live off base, on base
housing is needed to maintain good order and discipline. Our point, as
stated in the report, is that the preference to live off base may continue
regardless of the type or quality of barracks that are provided.
Unfortunately, reliable, quantitative data is not available to show what
impact improved barracks will have on members’ perceptions of their
quality of life and ultimately on members’ decisions to stay in the military.

DOD  questioned our analysis of costs that would be incurred if the Marine
Corps’ 2+0 barracks standard were adopted by all services. DOD stated that
we failed to consider the costs of additional baths that would be required
if existing 2+2 barracks were converted to 2+0 use. DOD’s contentions are
not accurate. In our analysis, we assumed that existing 2+2 barracks
would be downloaded by assigning only one member to each of the two
bedrooms that share a bath. With this configuration, more net square
footage would be provided to each member than required under the 2+0
standard and no additional baths would be required.

DOD commented that some of our cost estimates were misleading because
we did not consider the cost of modernizing and renovating existing
barracks if a barracks standard other than the 1+1 standard were adopted.
We disagree. Regardless of which barracks design standard is used,



Page 13                                          GAO/NSIAD-99-52 Military Housing
B-281734




barracks wear out and eventually require repair, modernization, and
renovation. For this reason, our analysis considered only costs to fully
implement the three barracks design standards.

Finally, DOD commented that our analysis of costs for full implementation
of the 1+1 barracks design is not based on any DOD or service plan. As
such, DOD stated that our analysis failed to consider that the services plan
to replace existing barracks only after they reach the end of their useful
life. In describing the services’ plans, our report notes that new barracks
will be constructed, when required, to replace barracks at the end of their
economic life. We did not intend to suggest that existing barracks should
be abandoned and new 1+1 barracks should be immediately constructed.
Rather, our analysis is intended to estimate the costs for the Army, the Air
Force, and the Navy to fully implement the 1+1 standard over time, which
represents the current plans of these services.

DOD also provided some technical comments, which we have incorporated
as appropriate.


We are sending copies of this report to Senator Robert C. Byrd, Senator
Carl Levin, Senator Ted Stevens, Senator John W. Warner, and to
Representative David R. Obey, Representative Ike Skelton, Representative
Floyd D. Spence, and Representative C.W. Bill Young, in their capacities as
Chair or Ranking Minority Member of Senate and House Committees. We
are also sending copies of this report to the Honorable William Cohen,
Secretary of Defense; the Honorable Louis Caldera, Secretary of the Army;
the Honorable Richard Danzig, Secretary of the Navy; the Commandant of
the Marine Corps, General Charles C. Krulak; and the Honorable F.W.
Peters, Acting Secretary of the Air Force. Copies will also be made
available to others upon request.




Page 14                                        GAO/NSIAD-99-52 Military Housing
B-281734




Please contact me at (202) 512-5140 if you or your staff have any questions
on this report. Major contributors to this report are listed in appendix IV.

Sincerely yours,




Mark E. Gebicke
Director, Military Operations
  and Capabilities Issues




Page 15                                        GAO/NSIAD-99-52 Military Housing
Contents



Letter                                                                                 1


Appendixes   Appendix I: Typical Room Floor Plans for Barracks Designs                18
             Appendix II: Objectives, Scope, and Methodology                          19
             Appendix III: Comments From the Department of Defense                    21
             Appendix IV: Major Contributors to This Report                           25


Tables       Table 1: 1+1 Barracks Projects Approved Through Fiscal Year               5
               1999
             Table 2: Barracks Construction Cost Estimates for Each                   10
               Occupant
             Table 3: Estimated Additional Funds Required to Fully Implement          11
               Alternative Barracks Design Standards




             Abbreviations

             DOD       Department of Defense


             Page 16                                     GAO/NSIAD-99-52 Military Housing
Page 17   GAO/NSIAD-99-52 Military Housing
Appendix I

Typical Room Floor Plans for Barracks
Designs

                     1 + 1 Module Interior Access

                                                                               Module with 2 Private Sleeping Rooms, 2 Closets, 1 Bath, 1 Kitchenette
                                                                               Total building area maximum per module (sq ft):                            710
                                                                               Total building area maximum per room (sq ft):                              355
                                               Kitchenette                     Total net living area in sleeping room (sq ft):                            118
                                                                               Net living area in sleeping room per member (sq ft):                       118
                                                                               E1-E4 (E1-E3 Marines): 1 member per sleeping room, 2 members share bath.
                                                                               E5-E6 (E4-E5 Marines): 1 member per module (2 sleeping rooms).

         Closet                                       Closet




             Bedroom                           Bedroom
             1 Member                          1 Member




                     2 + 0 Module Exterior Access                                                     2 + 2 Module Exterior Access




                                                                                          Closet                                       Closet

                  Bedroom                      Bedroom
                  2 members                    2 members
                                                                                           Closet               Shower                  Closet




                                                                                                   Bedroom                    Bedroom
                          Shower      Shower
        Closet                                            Closet                                   2 members                  2 members




       Closet                                             Closet




   Module with 2 Sleeping Rooms, 2 Baths, Normally No Kitchenette                      Module with 2 Sleeping Rooms, 1 Bath, No Kitchenette
   Each room has 2 closets and 1 bath.                                                 Each room has 2 closets, 2 rooms share 1 bath.
   Total building area maximum per module (sq ft):                915                  Total building area maximum per module (sq ft):                850
   Total building area maximum per room (sq ft):                  458                  Total building area maximum per room (sq ft):                  425
   Total net living area in sleeping room (sq ft):                180                  Total net living area in sleeping room (sq ft):                180
   Net living area in sleeping room per member (sq ft):            90                  Net living area in sleeping room per member (sq ft):            90
   E1-E4 (E1-E3 Marines): 2 members per sleeping room, 2 members share bath.           E1-E4 (E1-E3 Marines): 2 members per sleeping room, 4 members share bath
   E5-E6 (E4-E5 Marines): 1 member per sleeping room.                                  E5-E6 (E4-E5 Marines): 1 member per sleeping room, 2 members share bath




                                                    Page 18                                                             GAO/NSIAD-99-52 Military Housing
Appendix II

Objectives, Scope, and Methodology


              As requested, we reviewed the Department of Defense’s (DOD) barracks
              program in the United States to (1) determine the status of the services’
              implementation of the 1+1 barracks design standard; (2) document DOD’s
              rationale for adopting the standard; (3) determine the costs of alternatives
              to the 1+1 standard; and (4) obtain service views of the impact of the
              standard from a team-building, individual isolation, or similar perspective.
              Our review focused on military barracks used to house permanent party
              enlisted personnel in the United States.

              We performed our work at the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the
              headquarters of each military service. We interviewed responsible agency
              personnel and reviewed applicable policies, procedures, and documents.
              We also visited one installation of each service to observe barracks
              designs and conditions and to talk with barracks managers and occupants.
              We visited the following installations, as recommended by the respective
              service headquarters: Fort Lewis, Washington; Cheatham Annex Fleet
              Industrial Supply Center, Virginia; Edwards Air Force Base, California; and
              Marine Corps Air Station, Beaufort, South Carolina.

              To determine the status of each service’s barracks program, we obtained
              and reviewed information on barracks policies, requirements, inventory,
              and condition of the inventory. We also reviewed each service’s plans and
              cost estimates for improving the barracks, including plans for
              implementing the 1+1 design standard. We reviewed the status of military
              construction barracks projects for fiscal years 1996-99, and for all 1+1
              projects, we summarized the costs incurred and number of barracks
              spaces provided.

              To document DOD’s rationale for adopting the 1+1 barracks design
              standard, we reviewed (1) changes to barracks design standards since
              1970, (2) DOD and service documentation describing the process that
              resulted in adoption of the 1+1 design standard, (3) previous DOD reports
              discussing the rationale for the 1+1 design, and (4) the results from the
              1992 triservice survey of barracks occupants. We also obtained and
              reviewed available information on servicemembers’ quality of life and
              reviewed retention statistics since fiscal year 1996.

              To determine the costs of alternatives to the 1+1 standard, we analyzed
              the services’ cost information on constructing military barracks using the
              1+1, 2+0, and 2+2 design standards. We used this information to develop
              estimates of the cost to construct a barracks space in accordance with
              each of these standards. Using these cost estimates, data on the existing



              Page 19                                        GAO/NSIAD-99-52 Military Housing
Appendix II
Objectives, Scope, and Methodology




barracks inventory and approved barracks construction projects, and
service estimates of barracks requirements, we also estimated and
compared the costs for each service to fully implement each of the three
design standards. In addition, we obtained the views of service
representatives on the use of barracks designs other than the 1+1 design.

To obtain service views of the impact of the standard from an individual
isolation, team-building, or similar perspective, we (1) reviewed
documentation describing the process resulting in adoption of the 1+1
standard to determine whether any negative aspects of the design had
been identified and evaluated, (2) reviewed the justifications supporting
all service requests for waivers from using the 1+1 design standard, and
(3) obtained opinions on the matter from service representatives.

We conducted our review between July 1998 and January 1999 in
accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.




Page 20                                        GAO/NSIAD-99-52 Military Housing
Appendix III

Comments From the Department of Defense




               Page 21        GAO/NSIAD-99-52 Military Housing
               Appendix III
               Comments From the Department of Defense




Now on p. 2.




               Page 22                                   GAO/NSIAD-99-52 Military Housing
                Appendix III
                Comments From the Department of Defense




Now on p. 9.




Now on p. 9.




Now on p. 11.




                Page 23                                   GAO/NSIAD-99-52 Military Housing
                Appendix III
                Comments From the Department of Defense




Now on p. 11.




                Page 24                                   GAO/NSIAD-99-52 Military Housing
Appendix IV

Major Contributors to This Report


                        Carol Schuster, Associate Director
National Security and   William Solis, Assistant Director
International Affairs
Division, Washington,
D.C.
                        Gary Phillips, Evaluator in Charge
Norfolk Field Office    James Ellis, Senior Evaluator




(703252)                Page 25                              GAO/NSIAD-99-52 Military Housing
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