tv Hearing on Military Privatized Housing CSPAN December 4, 2019 5:24am-7:30am EST
hours. to receive testimony from the government accountability office service chiefs of the current condition of privatized military housing. almost a year ago i first heard from the military families about the conditions they faced and frankly it was called to my attention from the air force base and i thought this was something that was just unique
to the air force base and then i thought it's elsewhere in oklahoma. it's also everywhere around the country so that was kind of the background of how this all started. i've come to learn that it is a problem nationwide. the national crisis in portions we haven't seen since the scandal about a decade ago. members of this committee can our staff an and bicycles, peope traveled and seen the problems firsthand. this is the third hearing that committee has had and i'm sure that it won't be the last. we hope this is the first two hearings we would see differences by now and be able to use this hearing. in fact it was set up to discuss the progress that has been made. well, it is set up to the progress that hasn't been what he wanted.
we continue to hear regularly from the families across the country about questionable practices for the workmanship and frankly in some places about housing contractors just not caring about the families that they are supposed to be serving. additionally, as it is reported, some of the contractors are now under investigation for defrauding the federal government and i'm really worried what else may come out of the woodwork on this. what other problems are out there that we don't know. to the witnesses from the get it cut apart and i have to ask when is enough enough and i have to make one comment though of the witnesses that are here with one exception they all kind of walked into this blindly because of an issue you are not familiar with, so to say some things that are critical, i'm not looking at you personally, but as the department into was representing it before you arrived here.
regardless of any potential wrongdoing we are still receiving complaints that you are failing to fix the problem as time for talk is over. if these companies can't get the job done you over to the military families to find a company that will. i say this because this housing problem is really a readiness problem. we don't think of as being a ita readiness problem. i've experienced talking about this. we actually had to air men that had to come back from the uae to handle this problem that should have been handled by the military in their absence so this is a very important element. these hearings are not to be an indictment on the privatization housing system as a whole because in some cases it has worked and has worked very well. it is meant to be an indictment on the bad actors that we know are out there and to those who lead our men and women in uniform i ask what are we going
to do about it since almost a year later we'r we are still heg from the same problems. as i mentioned earlier, display thethiswouldn't be the last heag pitting our witnesses on notice that we will have another hearing early next year to discuss the implementation of our housing reform efforts and contractors will be back to answer the hard questions. i have some things i was going to say that i think i will go ahead and bought use her time. i think the gao has done a great job, and i want to make sure that everyone hears from them. to remediate these and dozens of others, we have more than 30 housing related legislative provisions this year. 30 positions. that's another reason that it's important and we have been unable. we did a good job in the senate,
and we do have those problems that we will be addressing. we cannot afford to ignore this problem like military housing or why it is so crucial and we continue to pass this every year. they support the bipartisan national security in this country and it shouldn't be held hostage by issues outside of the committee's jurisdiction. unfortunately because of issues that are not in the senate armed services committee jurisdiction, this year's is not yet resolved which means only leadership can clear up this log jam out there. otherwise the likelihood is greater now than it was. we are out of time and i didn't mean to deviate from the subjects of the committee hearing that i think it's important that we bring this up as it is a critical thing taking place right now. i hope that we can move past
these issues so that we can determine and remain focused on the promises they made to those who served the country and getting signed into law. that should be the priority, and it is. with that i would like to recognize the military families that have traveled here today to speak answers from you and we would like to have all the families to stand up right now. let's give them a round of applause. [applause] to the dod witnesses as i've said before, these are the people who trust you, whose trust you are going to have to regain. >> thank you mr. chairman. i would like to begin by it andt again thinking of a vast number of military families have spoken out about the inadequate conditions of the privatized
housing. i especially want to recognize the military families to travel today for this hearing as the chairman has done. today we welcome elizabeth field from the gao and senior civilian leadership of the military services. i especially want to thank you and your team for your dedicated work this far. the gao's finding this far confirmed the alarming trends. for example, the gao found that the often quoted 87% satisfaction rate is, quote, misleading and unreliable, and that the records for the request of the work service calls they are questionable. the committee continues to receive complaints directly from the military families. while the services have made strides since last february many problems with housing remains. i am still not convinced that the companies are doing everything in their power and investing as much as they can to improve the quality for the military.
i also have several questions that i would have to be entered into the record that were requested directly by military families on the many issues within the military treatment facilities and diagnosing medical problems caused by inadequate housing conditions. while the conference process is still underway for the fiscal year 2020, i remain confident that we will reach an agreement on legislation that will represent the most significant reform of the privatized housing since its inception in 1996. we also have a lot of work to do on addressing systemic problems have been discovered with privatized housing and i think the chairman fothankthe chairmas important and timely hearing. last, i want to take this opportunity with the civilian and military leadership of each of the services present to express my deep concern about the president's recent interference in more times cases involving members of the u.s. military.
these follow my remarks and will follow the senate on novembe november 21. the president has the power to pardon that has the responsibility to use that power wisely, not recklessly. good order and discipline are critical to the time-honored traits of the united states military not only to enable the military readiness and effectiveness, but also to ensure military men and women remain firmly tethered to the nation's moral and ethical principles of the most demanding wartime environment. some claimed these were a distraction to the intervention that somehow improved the morale of the military. on the contrary, the president chose disregard for the justice system risked undermining the confidence of the servicemembers and movable and the chain of command. especially those that are courageous enough to bring allegations of the war crimes and testify against their teammates. when we do not hold our military personnel to appropriate conduct and also makes it more likely that they will face similar
abuse on the battlefield and less likely that we will be able to hold our enemy is accountable. there is no one more critical on these issues than senator john mccain who stated this is a moral debate. it's about who we are. i do not mourn the loss of any service life. what i do mourn is what we lose when the official policy or neglect they confuse or encourage those who fight this war for us and get the best sense of the results. in the violence, chaos and heartache of the war through deprivation we are always indifferent, stronger and better than those who destroy us. i believe that the case has done a disservice. thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you senator reid.
the military departments submitted a statement for the record which will be part of the record and i ask each to limit your remarks to five minutes. we have a full pane panel todaya lot of members with a lot of questions. before we turn to the department i would ask the director of defense capabilities management at the gao to provide her statement which i know includes new findings that will be made public for the first time today. >> thank you chairman inhofe, ranking member reading members and staff of the committee it is an honor to be here today to discuss the ongoing work assessing the military housing privatization initiative. almost as soon as reports began surfacing last year of problems with military privatized housing, servicemembers and their families began reaching out to us that the gao to share their stories. we heard from military families
who reported bold throughout their homes, rodent infestation and other serious problems like gas and carbon monoxide leaks and repeated sewage leaks. while these are just some examples of the complaints that we have received they are indicative of the tickets conference we heard from military families living in privatized housing and installations across the country. what we wanted to find out when we began receiving these complaints is how commonly held the word. defense department officials have been merely pointed to two metrics to help answer that question. first, they cite the results of the department's annual customer satisfaction survey. according to the dod most recent report evaluating the program, tenant satisfaction has remained at 87% and is, quote, a critical indicator of overall program success. however, as senator reid noted, we've determined that for many reasons ranging from health is a
question was asked to help the results were compiled and calculated, this 87% figure is not in any way reliable. second, the departmen departmeno high occupancy rates. in the same report from any of this year, dod stated the fact that occupancy rates remained greater than 93% program wide demonstrates, and i'm going to quote again, a high level of service and satisfaction and overall success in providing suitable and desirable housing. however, through the site visits and ten installations where we conducted 15 focus groups with families wheeler and family members often choose to live in privatized housing for reasons that have nothing to do with the housing itself. reasons such as living in close proximity to medical and education services for children with special needs or a concern that means housing is neither affordable nor safe. as part of our ongoing review,
we have a different way to determine the extent of the problems we were hearing about. we collected and analyzed over 8 million work order records from all 14 private partners handle 79 projects. our hope was we could use the data to determine the prevalence of certain hazards to the patterns over time in a different location and possibly to assess the timeliness of the maintenance conducted on the home. unfortunately we found because of the data in the records not captured reliably or consistently, they cannot be used to do so. among other problems we found anomalies in the data provided by all 14 private partners such as duplicate work orders and work orders with completion dates prior to when the words that. the problems on a detail are significant not just because they tell us the dod statement that the program has been successful overall may not be fully accurate, but because the department has been using the metrics to reward and incentivize the partners.
i want to acknowledge the service secretaries along with officials from the office of the secretary of defense have taken steps to address these and other problems from working to renegotiate the performance incentive structures to strengthening oversight on the ground to increasing staffing levels and military offices that have seen the resources cut, and i also want to acknowledge the many factors that make this a deeply complex problem including the department and ability to unilaterally make certain changes to the legal agreements with the partners. through our ongoing review, we know that the department's efforts are headed in the right direction. but it will take sustained attention likely over a number of years to work through the many implications of this long-term public-private partnership and to fully meet departmental of providing safe and clean housing for all servicemembers and their families. thank you and i look forward to your questions.
>> we have a lot of participation today. senator reid and i agree that we are going to govern in earnest to stay on the subject is a temptation to get into other areas but housing is it today so that is what we will attempt to give. let's go ahead with our opening statements, secretary mccarthy. >> thank you mr. chairman. chairman inhofe, ranking member reed and distinguished members of the committee thank you for the opportunity to provide an update on actions taken by the army since the intensive focus on the housing operations and oversights that began in february of 2019. i would like to reiterate
serious commitment to providing safe, quality and affordable housing to our soldiers, civil servants and their families. it is our response ability to provide housing not simply to code but also to quality. we must fix the current housing crisis using a house to house approach. we must also fixed the governance model and address underlining issues to ensure systemic change. over the last ten months, we identified our government falls, initiated a commander driven town halls and created a 24 hour helpline to hear feedback directly from the families affected. we have a empowered the chain of command as a part of the solution, created transparency in the work order process and ultimately, sought to regain the trust of the men and women in our ranks and their families. we directed housing as our top quality-of-life priority and aligning resources. as a demonstration of our
commitment to this issue, we assigned housing operations to the four-star commander of our material command who at the delegated authority would hold incentive fees. we developed new incentive fee metrics measure delete the measuring workforce response, repair quality and resident satisfaction to allow us to withhold fees for substandard performances. as a tri- service residents bill obillof rights has been finaliz. we are also equally concerned and committed and in the last two fiscal years the army has invested 1.1 billion. for fy 20, projects will total 790 million. while the army has worked hard over the past ten months to make significant strides and will be managed over the housing there is much more work to be done.
the immediate focus is to fix the current housing issues that can be addressed by its active follow-through on work orders and improved management. we await the 45% of the force that live on post. in addition, we need to rapidly address the needs of the families that have been temporarily displaced across army installations there is the need for the operating procedures, transparency and accountability of claims. this must include standardizing the rent reimbursement, food cards and remediation or replacement of household items. since february, the army has a displacement of 2,265 families. currently 182 families are still in temporary housing via privatized companies are addressing issues in their homes. days can feel like weeks and weeks can feel like months. these are not simply members of
these our lives. we have over 86,000 privatized homes with one third in good condition one third fair condition requiring minor refurbishing and one third in poor condition and needing to be rebuilt. right now the general is working on an overall analysis of the army's privatized housing requirements and in the spring we plan to present the findings to the key committees jurisdiction. in closing, the army's resolve and our commitment to bringing safe, quality affordable housing to our soldiers and their families but much more work remains. we need congressional help in two areas. first, we need the approval to enact items such as the residents bill of rights and second, a final 2020 appropriations bill to continued immediate housing improvements. thank you and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you mr. secretary.
my staff has reminded me to stay on our schedule. next we will be hearing from the acting secretary. try to stay within your five minutes. >> chairman inhofe, ranking member consisting of members of the committee, thank you for your continued attention to this very critical issue. for the navy marine corps team and ou,our people are our most s resource and we will always prioritize their safety and well-being particularly of the sailors and marines and also families that serve alongside of them. there's an empty chair at the thanksgiving table for many of our families because a father, mother, wife or husband was deployed overseas. these families served with pride and distinction. on top of the considerable demand of the military service, no military family should ever have to contend with chronic intimate issues o issues or conh as mold and pests in their homes. trust and confidence are the bedrock of the effective command
and they must be confident the leadership will advocate tirelessly on their behalf. this is commander's business. the three of us are actively engaged on this issue and have been since the beginning if we are committed to empowering leaders through the chain of command to assess, monitor and remediate issues of concern. since th the department of the y last addressed the committee, we've diligently pursued three distinct lines of effort. one active and engaged leadership, number two, reinforcing the department of the navy's oversight and three, improving partners to most importantly restore trust with those families that reside in those housing units. the written testimony provides more details on these efforts so we will close with this. while we have made steady progress over the past six months, we are not completely satisfied and we will not rest in our determination to make this right for the sailors,
marines and their families. we appreciate the resolve on this matter and of the committee's efforts to secure the resources we need in this effort by ensuring final passage in the fiscal year 2020 appropriations. thank you and we look forward to your questions. >> chairman inhofe, ranking member reed, members of the committee, thank you for inviting us to discuss housing today. the service secretaries and service chiefs work together on this issue. we share ideas of how to improve housing because our soldiers, sailors, airmen and koreans who live on military facilities to serve safe and secure borders. we are jointly committed to resolving housing issues and we thank you for your attention to this matter of mutual concern. issues with privatized housing on some installations reveal this off faulty construction, subpar maintenance and late to
meet responsiveness. while many bases have the privatized housing, others have suffered with projected owners that have failed. some have reportedly disregarded maintenance requests and misrepresented the timelines can perform partial repairs had failed to correct the root causes of problems. the air force owns part of the responsibility as well. we cut through many personnel who provided oversighwho provide projects and failed to empower the chain of command to go in and fix these issues. as a result, the distracted from the mission. they've disrupted our airmen and dislocated their families. this is unacceptable. so, we are taking the steps necessary to hold our project owners accountable for improved performance. during my confirmation hearing before the committee, we discussed some of these issues and subsequently, my first stop on my first trip as the
secretary was to survey the housing. in my first five weeks a as a secretary i examined the privatized housing in wyoming, -- since my predecessor testified on the subject nine months ago, the department has fixed many housing issues and has made progress towards fixing others. they completed an important inspector general investigation, the results of which have been shared with the committee. dozens of recommendations from the iht and from the air force itself and from families themselves have been fully and partially implemented. process improvements fall into five broad categories. we are empowering the residents. we are integrating leadership and accountability into all levels of housing. residence, project and military chain of command are communicating directly and
candidly. housing now has local and central scrutiny and oversight. finally, air force policies for housing management have been updated and standardized. under the leadership of the air force assistant secretary john henderson and the tenacious space commanders, we are establishing resident councils to solicit direct feedback. we are placing new resident advocates at each of the military housing offices to connect them with resources and help resolve disputes and additional personnel will help us achieve 100% of the move and inspections while enhancing oversight. we've also worked with project donors to fix the group causes of recurring mold at the bases with the most severe challenges. some housing issues invite concerned about possible misconduct including allegations that some manipulated maintenance data to increase their incentive awards.
these allegations have been referred to the air force office of special investigation which in coordination with the fbi will determine whether to press criminal charges. last week when you and i visited the air force base in mississippi, we met air force families that had been displaced from their homes as many as four times in recent years. as the families prepare for thanksgiving, they wondered whether they should decorate a christmas tree in their temporary homes or rely on the promise they would return to their permanent homes in time for their holidays. family descriptions and the challenges are profoundly personal and impactful to these families and therefore to us. we owe it to the families to get this right with your continued support, we well and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you, we will have five-minute rounds. we have more than a dozen contractors out there providing
military housing to our services and some are better than others. therthere's one at one end of te spectrum and i'm very familiar because that's where the whole thing started in the opening statement i mentioned at the air force base, but there's also representing dahlstrom, travis, fairchild, and it might be a little unfair since you are the newest one to give you the first question. why is it that they are still there and what do we have to do? how do you pull the plug and get that done, what other contract obstacles are out there that we want to get stuff done and you are the newest one out there, what do you think? >> that is what we are looking at. before i was confirmed, the air
force was taking action on exactly that concern. they received a letter of concern from the air force expressing that they had lost confidence in their ability to perform under the contract. that letter was issued in september. since that time they haven't been receiving performance incentives fees. since that time they have the contract on many bases and all of the performance fees have been withheld, so they are under financial penalty right now and in addition to that, it's been requested that they submit an action plan for what they will be doing. the plan is due by the end of the year and there will be no tricks and accountability from the plan or the air force will be initiating the elements accessible to us under the dispute resolution procedures that could lead to anything up to a default on the lease.
>> i guess the short version is you are doing everything that you can do that you inherited at the facilities that you are able to. to each of the secretaries, i would like to mention, i keep hearing that they are talking about these companies have said they would be open to reopening the agreements to ensure transparency. but they never talk about the cost would be so i would ask any secretary that would like to respond to the question that behind closed doors or the companies actually willing to reopen these agreements or are they just giving lip service to contractors trying to dig their way out of a bad situation? if they are open to the reopening of agreements, have any of them talked about the cost would be to do such a
thing? >> mr. chairman, in the most recent discussions there was a discussion about the restructuring of the death of the companies. the economics in most cases for the projects are under the interest rates, seven, eight, 9% which by changing the scoring model we can provide an opportunity for them to go to capital markets and increase the capital for the reinvestment. what we need to do is come back with an analysis of just how substantial of a project this would entail and then we would d have to negotiate that. but what i ha i had from the ret discussion in september is there was definitely energy to do that. >> any othe other secretaries? >> secretary's? >> we absolutely would consider reopening the contracts and
renegotiating the contract. it's much more efficient to work under the contract now if they will correct their behaviors. but if not -- >> and it's cheaper than trying to start all over again i would suggest. okay. we have gotten some positive results. i know we hear more about the negative results but they took command of the wing and things really started to improve. one of the things he did, i heard from other people that saw he went to the town hall meetings, and we are talking about those that are in charge in the chain of command they go to the meetings and meet with people and really get emotionally involved so i would like to at least point it out some of the things are happening and we would like to learn from those experiences.
senator reid. >> thank you mr. chairman and let me once again commend the gao for their excellent work. you have made the point that many of the statistics that are used particularly for the poor debate performance are erroneous, misleading, not appropriate, which begs the question the secretary responded to and i will address it first hanfirsthand on the navy come iu withheld performance fees just in general because of inaccurate data or specifically because of problems we've encountered. >> most recently what we did is go back and look at the incentive award fees to make sure the metrics were such that we had incentivized the appropriate behavior by the contractor in this case. so, what the general houston as he has revised and.
we did get input from the gao and others, but he has revised those and they will go live in a couple of weeks. but therthere are specific instr installations and one other location recently where we held back substantially. they withheld substantial fees back from the contractors in this case because of the poor performance and work order response time as well as quality. >> i would just ad add as the secretary said that the average rate of 77% of your takin you aa harder look at that. we have had some posts that have 100% as well as 11%. it's making a difference in the performance of the contractors. >> senator, we in the navy has nonot paid off in the incentive fee this year. we are looking at those very carefully to understand whether or not they have earned them.
if you're going through that analysis. going forward, we've also gone the way of changing the fee to much more heavily weighted towards the president feedback and they are perceptions including health and safety issues that are often part of the structure before. >> do you have anything to add? >> do you have anything to add? >> that use the secretary mccarthy? is there anyway we can provide
assistance to get that modified? >> when the bill of rights is published i think the dispute resolution is one of particular we need to put in place as quickly as possible that's why the only mechanism that families have to get results is legal action. the sooner we can have dispute resolution in place it will help improve dramatically. >> between the companies and the services of dispute resolution? that would be a positive step? >> yes sir. >> mister secretary. >> i agree with the secretary mccarthy but i would also say the other challenge that we have until now we didn't have grave visibility to the data. most of that maintenance data was captured in the it system
but they weren't capturing data in the same way. we're trying to standardize that to have visibility so we understand if the contractor is not performing properly we would take action and i also agree with secretary mccarthy the tenant bill of rights if we standardize that that will help our ability to resolve disputes more quickly. >> you can rationalize the data without any contractual changes? be my guesser we believe we can do that. we just need our partners to enter the data in a way that it makes sense to us. >> i don't know of any contractual changes and to help us implement and to your
satisfaction survey and that third-party group says ceo. >> who makes that determination? >> there are multiple levels. >> the ceo did not devise the question. >> my understanding is the services coordinated to develop specifically how much do you agree or disagree and that is different than the position presented to you. >>'s we got an accurate
information. and define it with the troops are thinking. thank you for that thank you for coming to mississippi and with our service members there when the congressman staff and let me give a shout out to the wing commander as well as the senior enlisted leadership. this particular group leader represents a mindset change to be customer oriented and then to be empathetic that try to
make it work in these houses and frankly with that previous leadership where one particular person told a member of my staff that by raising these questions he was simply making matters worse and i was absolutely delighted to see there was none of that left and very much a mindset of what the problem is and how it needs to be solved going forward to make you have dedicated almost exclusively with this problem.
>> the assistant secretary has a lot of other duties as well be spending a lot of time on this topic it really is devoted. >> he is sitting behind you but it does occur to me we have an unusual situation almost all 1188 housing units had to be replaced with katrina and one fell swoop and it took me a while but yesterday i finally found out this information of the residences they are 1084 have experienced moisture and mold.
we're told this is a mistake with the installation of the air-conditioning units and duct ducts. i would like you to tell us on the record how many air-conditioning companies were involved in this? were all of them involved in these homes that had the moisture problems? why the multiple instances there's a family of four that had to leave their residence four times and the problem still has not been solved why is it the remediation is not getting done? why are they typically told you will be out of the house two weeks? then that turns into four and six and eight weeks? are there any houses that are
ever repaired in two weeks? i would like to know that. how often does it take two weeks. and why is it that neighbors tell these people that they units that have been vacated often go days without workman being there? if no work is being done and that cannot be a good use of the time. many of our troops are asked to move out to hotels because it is not adequate housing. one had to be out at 11:00 a.m. to be comply with the 11:00 a.m. check out and then he was told it would be another two weeks.
this is called being jerked around by the system and one other question i am over my time but these need to be answered on the record. in many instances like biloxi mississippi the homeowners insurance is so high that the basic allowance for housing is not adequate. when i was in the air force on active duty i was happy to go off and live well do we need to change the statutes to account for higher homeowners insurance? thank you mister chairman for the indulgence. >> thank you and the ranking member for having this hearing to follow up from the last one
in march and most of you were not here i recognize the progress that has been made since then has been encouraging but extremely limited i want to thank the military families who are here today but also countless military families who have continued to contact us directly as well as advocate for better housing and i want to highlight one area we have received complaints i would like to know of all the complaints you have received this is most troubling to me is retaliation for legitimate complaints ranging from servicemembers whether
training with their unit or military spouses being uninvited from spouse workgroups are housing company representatives taking homes of military families making verbal threats are moving work orders to the back of the queue for families who are asking for desperately needed maintenance. this is outrageous. i would like to know in writing all the complaints. they report to us conditions that are chronic and recurring and endemic to their living and no doubt to spur some improvements and to be an
advocate for the bill of rights in my view a lack of impact of criminal prosecution would have and i note that none of the statements presented this morning have had any mention of an actual referral for criminal prosecution. that there has been no such referral and thank you for mentioning in all actions where fraud is suspected that you immediately notify the air force office of investigations and department of justice. there has been a recent report released last month to fake maintenance records to pocket
performance bonuses and with that misrepresentation and the outright lies and i would like to know from each of the services if you have referred any cases for criminal prosecution. >> not at this time. >> senator we have not done that yet but i would like to say a couple months ago i made a decision to put a dedicated audit function solely focused to go out and investigate whether or not there was any such activity that you mentioned so if there is an instance we have the ability to have evidence in turn that over for prosecution.
>> we have investigations where fraud has been alleged with the department and they would determine whether or not to go forward with charges. >> have there been any referrals yet? >> not yet. >> i know this is not a new concern on my part and in fact with the nda a that the senate passed version to encourage the agents which i hope to write and i have also written to each of the service secretaries that fraudulent activity be referred and i
would like a report within a reasonable amount of time from each of you as to the status of any investigation from your department. i know you all want the best housing for the men and women i have no doubt about your commitment that we need to use every tool and resource to make sure these private contractors understand there's a new era of military housing. >> i would like to say thank you to the witnesses today for your commitment but even more importantly to the staff and family members that are here today in the nineties i was the young army wife newly married into the rangers with a husband who deployed
frequently so i can only imagine the situation all of our family members went through whether juggling childcare children school or a civilian job or whatever it was you had in addition to that we had housing issues that you had to address. because maybe your spouses were out doing with the federal government told them to do so thank you to all of you i understand those challenges we have to make a change. thank you for being here. we have talked about the high level investigations involving a secretary and so forth but i would like to hear from the commandant in the chief what are we doing to educate those young commanders? the health and welfare?
that is up to them so while we do have special offices involved what are we doing to educate that chain of command that they can make sure that's appropriat appropriate. >> we are working on training for the commander for the basis on the housing issue so there is a better understanding in fact passed on to the members of the military. >> after this issue came up i talked to the wing commanders with 270 strong and i shared with them there are certain things we have to do and then
and then to understand the role what they failed to do or what are they supposed to do? you could argue it should've been before hand. so with both chains of command and this is something you have to sustain. >> and the root cause a big part of that was mindset and the other thing that went hand in glove is that we never
codified the responsibility including oversight so like the marine corps now we have formalized forces with the executive officers but even more importantly right now to recognize most of the progress we made is grounded on leadership to enable commanders at every level to understand the process it with the right lovers are to pull someone a sailor and his family has an issue we can respond immediately and not put that on the back burner. >> we may have outsourced private contracts but not responsibility every leader is responsible for their soldiers they understand that.
>> and again to the family for your resiliency and fortitude we appreciate it. >> thank you mister chair into our witnesses and the families that are so important yesterday secretary mccarthy asked me to accompany him and we saw those ahead very serious problems 15 communities some of the houses from the forties and fifties we visited two communities that were new one house we saw a family was repeatedly told they didn't have a mold problem that he found that there was mold but he was being told there wasn't a problem and there was even after it was discovered by him he could not get a response
until he said it's not safe we have to move out then housing company jumped into action because then there was going to be a financial consequence a separate family having their home repaired and then they notice they were bringing any new insulation into the home they told her they had done it she noticed no new insulation was brought into the home and said open the wall the wall was opened and the old insulation that was dirty and soaking wet because they had fixed the water problem behind the wall this is six months after we had this hearing secretary mccarthy was not happy with this we heard the stories i think we have identified two main problems of the military chain of command abdicated responsibility i understand over the last 15 or 20 years there were priorities that
maybe were assumed or didn't get attention or what they deserved that second these housing companies have a double standard that was i will operate in the private sphere and then make sure they have high occupancy rates because otherwise they'll go elsewhere now to treat it like a captive audience those who move from across the country to a place they don't know anyone and try to find new schools and everything else there's a natural tendency to live on base. and then to produce high-quality product we don't have to treat them in the same
way. so congress demands. so 12 and 13 you will understand her conclusion that the annual satisfaction survey would you recommend privatize housing. and then the departments on the survey asked this question how much do you agree or disagree with the following statement i would recommend this community to others?
a reasonable person would think that was about housing my neighborhood cracks fairfax county? northern virginia? and people have a problem with housing that would factor into their housing but 87 percent tells us precisely nothing and then i understand from a footnote in 2019 and are you satisfied and then would you recommend this community to others so i definitely feel
misled with this 87 percent. enough i should feel intentional or accidental. that we may have to craft this as a committee. and with those finances around the seven or 8 percent interest rate. and then to free up capital. and with the military housing. we should be doing what we can in a responsible manner to allow refinancing with the expectation of the money freed up could be plowed back into houses. and we have been able to do so i hope you might explore as a
committee thank you mister chair. >> thank you about housing for families so there are changes if we could make those that would have a big impact? is there legislation we could pass to force changes impact housing for families as well as partners. the bill of rights could be done right now they don't need to be legislatively mandated we have been looking at almost since its inception we have found problems throughout the
pressure that you can exert that would be most impactful. >> is there legislation that you need right now that would change the housing quex. >> i don't want to say categorically that some of the things most helpful and not be legislatively mandated. >> that we could have a session asking them to change? right. >> i believe that's required because of the existing order which are fifty-year agreements. >> so for all the secretaries issuing the resident bill of rights is there limitation quex. >> there are a couple of issues with the language and the department's position
specifically dispute resolution we need to hire an outside firm as a mediator and another one would be whether or not the army hosts the partner homes through the legal liability to get access we are working through that with the committee that we could step out want to do that in congress one - - concert with the congress. >> the service secretaries with the bill of rights and we have negotiated we are ready to go that they are trying to put in legislation. >> that's exactly the same with the air force. but we don't want to issue
something that is in contrast of the nda a. >> then if they get it done then change it. >> but the airmen would rather have the consistency. >> so the dollars that have been held back for performance if you take those is that the problem are we allowed to do that quex. >> with a private contract do we have the ability to do that with existing contracts? . . . w
or withheld but not available to the air force and in the air force instance we have spent $25 million in remediation that may be brought against the contract. >> it's my understanding that funding is held in escrow but i don't think that it can be converted to other projects. >> why would you spend those dollars if you can do it and limit him t and take away from e money? >> have they said because of the
finances they don't have the financial wherewithal to make the change is? >> yes, sir. the last discussion that we addressed how do we increase the ceiling on capital for investment because as i mentioned in my opening statement, a third of our housing is going to require the capitalizations we need substantially more funding. and if you have economics from the mid-90 '90s it is like eight or 9% interest on the bond. >> so if they don't have the capital to do it -- >> the director to change the scoring so they can go back to the capital markets and get lower interest rates at which they have a desire to do that obviously for the business perspective, but to be able to increase the capitals but it's much more aggressive in the investor project. >> senator scott, let me interject me have had the bill
of rights language in the defense authorization bill and the problem is we have been bogged down mostly because of the house on the defense authorization bill. we are dealing with absolute deadline now and of course that language is in there. it's our thinking that it's time to not encourage the bill of rights to b beat together untile had a chance to do that in the nb. >> you can take the money that has been held in the performance and go fix the problem that they are responsible for. >> senator heinrich. >> thank you mr. chairman. i want to start by saying i share the frustration in the datand thedata that we have beeg and how it has been recognized and we need to understand as it is pointed out the way the questions have been asked so i
want to ask each of you are you currently asking the question, would you recommend privatized housing and a in addition are yu asking the question that was also referenced in the report. are you satisfied with the condition of your housing unit? >> we are making changes to customer service. >> is that korean tour in process >> we are looking at that as well to make sure that they are asking the right question in terms of what's happened in the past and how we follow the guidance. i don't have information about that but i will say we did a survey immediately after the situation came to the forefront and we discovered that we had much lower than we had thought
before. we are looking at this and this is the point i made earlier about the data in them are standing what it's telling us and making sure we are asking the right questions. >> i will say that i think they were able to get to the heart of a lot of the data very quickly and to implement other tools like focus groups to understand the nature of the problem and all of us up here need to be able to have reliable and consistent data. so are you asking those today or when will you be asking those two questions? >> we are asking them as directed by th the secretary ine form that is the requested font. one of the key questions on the data is we are troubling should whether we does aggregate the data. when you put it all together if seems like a really good number. that is why many bases, but it's
much, much lower and that is where we need to focus our attention but when we aggregate the data it is hard to find real answers and problems. >> secretary mccarthy, you mentioned the need to fix the model i think that those were your words. but we also heard a third of housing is import condition. it forces me to ask the question was privatizing the military housing a mistake and to put it another way, do we at least need to take a step back and analyze if it is working for our men and women in uniform. >> if we haven't privatized we wouldn't have been able to bring the investment capital to their to have the portfolio in the shape it's in.
we wouldn't have had those funds for example. the challenge is over at the 50 year relationship, you have to adjust over time flexibility of contracting to the manner of which two restructure the debt that conditions are better you have to present these opportunities. >> do we have the tools and knowledge built inttheknowledger services to actually implement the contracts and hold people to the completoaccount? because that happens everyday in a private real estate business, but that is not an expertise that is necessarily something that the services have spent a lot of time thinking about. and if we are not doing that, we certainly owe it to the men and women that lived in these homes to get that right.
>> it hits home with the plaintiff was mentioned before. our ability to make the right investmentinvestments and are wg the appropriate data to know the health of these homes. the oversight, the quality assurance. and the right skill sets associated to manage that. we are in many cases we need to improve across the board in all of those areas. >> i think that it was absolutely the right decision at the time to go in this direction and as the secretary said, we wouldn't have been able to be capitalized at the time. that does not mean that it has worked out great and i would say it isn't horrible performance but i think that it's very uneven and from personal experience i have a son-in-law and daughter in active duty and thetheylived in privatized housd
it was fantastic. i've visited several different pieces. some of it is fantastic and some of it is not. the problem that we have right now is understanding the differences. we don't have good access and visibility to what is actually going on on a unit by unit basis. when you accumulate data, well, what about the people that are not happy at how are we finding out about that and how are we fixing it, so we are finding out about it a year or sometimes after so we need to be more real-time monitoring the problem and that is what we are trying to do and we have the tools to do it. the data is being captured just as interesting or biased. once we have that we can add a lot more and we certainly have the tools to do that given some of the tools have existed because of the revolution in the technology. so, we can address this and i think the model needs tweaking
and as the secretary said, there may be structural challenges. this is a problem when you outsource some things i think there is a cultural shift when people felt it wasn't their problem anymore, but it's always going to be our problem to worry about the health and well-being and we just have to reinforce this message is. >> thank you mr. chairman and i also want to recognize our military families that are here today. it's hard enough to serve in the military and could be a spouse of someone that served in the military. but you add on to it the challenges we are talking about today and the type of stories that we have heard for what the families have had to put up with anand someone that served mysel, we know again what you and/or is hard enough, this is a leadership issue and i appreciate the leaders being
here today and your commitment to address the issue. it's also a leadership issue by the companies. we just came as veterans day. we are very patriotic and want to say thank you for your service and all you do get climate and culture starts at the top to and from the top all the way down. whether they are going to be customer service oriented with responsive 24/7 to the needs of the families, whether they are going to do whatever they can to make sure that they are addressing the health and welfare of these families, that is the climate issue. so, maybe they need to move into the military housing over the holidays. what do you think about that? and see how they feel about where they are going to put up their christmas tree or be serving christmas dinner. thank you for your work on that is basically 14 companies that have been involved.
>> i wouldn't want to characterize any compan companyd across-the-boaris goodacross ths the board. at any installation we visited, we found that the military housing officials on the ground were extremely frustrated with the private partner personnel on the ground. we are not getting the cooperation or support they needed. there were exceptions i would be happy to talk about, but i think that it's fair to say as we discussed earlier with the tenets are satisfied that the rate or not, there is clearly a problem here. >> one thing that i've read in some of the testimony comes sometimes families are confused when they went to the office as to who the advocate for them. by the taxpayer and who's actually a representative of the slumlord. so maybe they can wear their own t-shirt that says the slumlord. i'm not trying to be facetious but whether they are with the company or whether they are with
the housing officer. there has to be some sort. i would encourage the service chief just to ask them to do that. you need to know who is who when they are making a complaint. do you want to say something? >> there is a trifecta approach to this. there's the command team in the housing management officer, then there's the privatized owner and all three of those have to be engaged. where we have good engagement by those three in ownership and responsiveness, it is working. when one of them isn't fair it doesn't work. >> if they are coming into their frustration whether they are talking to somebody representing the company versus somebody that is supposed to be their advocate. i'm trying to get the audience engagement here. but one other factor is we specifically put language in to try to hire more individuals in the office to the advocate is to prioritize the military spouses for those positions.
i don't think you need this language for that. is this something tha that somee services are looking to do because they are at depression level unemployment as well. this is something we have been working on the committee as well related to the military spouse employment. pretty quickly you would have remembered that would want to serve in that role and i would like to hear from the services whether that is priority. >> as for priority, on in the tenure to give the opportunities for the military spouses that have preference for hiring opportunities. >> are their positions that are open and unfilled right now that could quickly be used? do any of the other services want to jump in? >> we have added 300 additional and this is one of the problems that we discovered in the last year is that we didn't feel we had enough advocates, so we are adding 300. we are in the process of hiring them and we are waiting on them
to fund those positions. prioritizing for the strongest something that we are going to do. >> we have also established 219 positions for the resident advocate that those would be great jobs. >> i'm almost out of time, but i just want to make sure that everybody understands they are being held for political gains. the defense appropriations bill is being held up for political reasons that have nothing to do with our troops, so i just want to make sure everybody understands without the defense appropriations bill, the level we have agreed to this is going to hurt some of the issues that families are dealing with. can i get a yes from everybody? thank you. let's get everybody on both sides of the aisle to vote that out and get them done this week. thank you. i yield back.
>> thank you, mr. chairman and i think the secretaries and their families in advocate that are here. this is a continuing addressing the concern that is going to be ongoing. and as you noted, have to be vigilant, not just today and tomorrow, but going forward. so, you said that the department can't make unilateral changes to these contracts to address some of these issues that have been brought forth. can you give me an example of implementation and contract that would make it difficult for the department of defense to unilaterally make a change order required a change? >> most of the agreement although not all do have the performance incentives built into the agreement. what we've determined is that a number of the metrics that underline the performance incentive fees are not good ways to measure the condition or quality of the home.
so they are looking at things like rewarding the occupancy rate for chicken has nothing to do necessarily with the condition of the home or things like timeliness and reporting. our understanding is that to change those underlining metrics as written in the agreement, the protesters have to agree with the services to make the changes. there is no underlining made tricks for the inhabited ability of the units >> i can't say because they are all different, but when the looked at them we found that they were overwhelmingly focused on the project as opposed to the quality or condition of the home and holding the part are accountable for that. >> are any of your agreements relating to the inhabited ability of the units, is there anything that allows you to negotiate regarding this in any of the contracts?
>> anybody can answer. >> the metrics referenced are not uniform across the installation's first off. on any installations that we have today we are changing the incentive were structuring and starting ostarting on january 1. >> you were able to change that by the end habitability if somehow there is not reference to that in the long-term contracts? >> we have gone back to the partners that we are changing the fees. we had to go back to the partners to do that. >> and are your partners cooperatively with changing the matrix? >> it's been a negotiation but that is how we are initiating it. >> what about the others, obviously we are here.
are yo you in posing this as a factor in your incentive? >> we are going through the process as we have restructured our incentive fee and what we are measuring prior to this we didn't have that sort of health and habitability but now we will. and our partners are accepting that. >> we are in the process of restructuring and that will include elements of the commanders of the fewer observation. habitability would be probably on of the elements that they would put. 1% of the units have had a safety review prior to people moving in. so that would be another word for the health and safety of that. >> by using the word to cover
the broad range of issues of concern to all of us. there was a mention made of the data is input in such a way that it isn't terribly helpful in what is going on so what are you doing to make sure for one thing shouldn't all the contracts be the same in terms of the terms of the contract across the service is? >> is that something you can answer yes or no? they created them with different terms and levels of accountability built into them. >> be that as it may, what about the data and insufficiency of the data do the rest of you agree that that is an issue?
>> of course. senator we address that at the quarterly discussions. >> we do agree that data is an issue and disaggregating and working. let me ask one more question. the condition of the housing that you went to see that they are putting back. it's one of the things were considering sending on the prosecution. but the general we were going to take a very hard look at that, yes ma'am.
>> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. i want to thank the chair man and the ring in her four participation. i've been here for five years and i've never seen a panel of military leadership like we have today. i think that sends a message to the families and also how serious the problem is. i have a question for the panel and the staff that are here. if you've lived in base housing, could you raise your hand, please? there's the issue. these people understand. i grew up in base housing and i understand what it means to be dislocated. this is unacceptable what is happening right now. but i want everybody in this hearing to understand the hypocrisy that you have heard this morning. pointing fingers at contractors that yes there is a core of ability and it needs to be dealt with. leadership issues may be within the dod that need to be dealt with but the one thing we are
not talking about his ability that we have right here in congress. this is the third month, the end of the first quarter of the fiscal year we hav have not fund our men and women in uniform. we can talk about the continuing resolution that we have sent a message to putin and everybody else in the world of political games are more important than our men and women in uniform. that is unacceptable and it directly affects housing capability. the u.s. army did a study recently regarding that you guys said specifically right now, 4,400 new units are being called up from construction because of the continuing resolution and by the way this is like the ten out of 11 years this is the tenth year of the first quarter has been spent under the continuing resolution where no contracts can be wanted, no follow-up can be made, no accountability accomplished, and my question is out of the 269 other maintenance housing units for $69 million
which i don't understand is 250,000 a unit so somewhere i want to get to these numbers because that doesn't make sense but can you give us an update as to the impact of continuing resolutions have on this issue with getting the problem is? >> on the military construction for the barracks project is about $239 million held up. joint base 55 million contracts and 54 million, so the barracks are impacted across into the family housing projects overseas. >> if i could interrupt i'm sorry, we could do this all day. i don't want to give you a pass by wonderful accountability here and we bear the brunt of this at the very get-go. have we funded this prior to september, it could be continuing right now. i want the people being affected to understand the fix cannot be accomplished as the political games were being played right now. can you give us the other impact
that may be caused by this insidious practice, 187 times since the budget act was put in place in 1974. this is our 187th resolution congress has used him to devastate you guys and it hurts these families so can you give a little more detail around the? >> $1.1 billion has been requested specifically on the housing restoration and modernization. >> what does that mean? >> we cannot start the projects or initiatives the funding. >> so it's already underway. doesn't affect those? >> yes sir. >> said they are being affected right now during this three-month period. >> any new projects and existing are being funded at the previous level so the buying power is reduced, yes sir. >> i visited the grave sites of the country that happened t coue
in my home state of georgia. i have red clay under the snails like yothesemails like you doinn that part of the state to spend. the governor is doing a fabulous job. you have a different problem in columbus, you have historic homes and they probably have lead and asbestos. this has been dealt with in the past. how is this being dealt with and by the way, we deploy a specific percentage of our men and women from air force, marines, and we have a significant percentage across more than 100 countries right now today so most of our people on the bases have a spouse overseas. can you help us understand the progress being made and what we can expect? >> we take the philosophy old is not historical and what they mean by that is we have homes we have to replace them or restore them if mayb it may be a house
100-years-old or a whole bunch of these different homes from 50 to 100-years-old we don't want to have to go back and restore them to the original materials and those kind of things. so we are working our way through that right now. we are not going to have to go back and get original materials and we can actually modernize some of the homes. i grew up in an old home but it's old, not historic. what we need to do for the homes is modernize them so that they are -- we are going to the homes right now. lead is a huge issue we are very concerned with our families getting the homes and remediating them but it just takes time. we are working about eight to nine homes a week and it's good to take some time, two to three years to get them to the level that we want them to be. >> can you get your stuff to keep us updated each month about the progress because i think
that is a bellwether for the rest of all the bases. >> it is, senator. yes we will. >> mr. chairman, i want to yield a couple of minutes to senator mentioned us to leave for a hearing. thank you mr. chairman and all of you. listening to everybody into the concerns we have been sure you feel the same way servicemembers should have better quality of life and they shouldn't be in this jeopardy. homeowners association of some and i am familiar with. any of you developers basically when you turn it over after a period of time than we have the responsibility to basically evaluate are you doing your job or not and have you lived up to youlooked atyour part of the bat was turned over and we have the right to bring civil actions against you. why can't we do the same here.
every member of the surface but since one of the homes basically would be a part of the homeowners association. thathe association develops ther own board and they were able to bring a civil suit. that is the best way to do that. better than the military or anybody else. we will spend millions of dollars for the people on the front line to tell you immediately and if you are the contractor that is awarded basically one of these exclusive contracts then you have a responsibility. if that is the responsibility you have with the kuwait then go to the civil court come directly to the civil court. you will never have this problem. this will eliminate. we can put this right into the bill of rights. >> we can do this as we are going right now and it will basically take care of how you can do this quickly. they will step up to the plate. they don't want civil lawsuits brought against them. that is my input. thank you mr. chairman.
>> mr. chairman, thank you and thank you senator mentioned. two comments before i ask a couple of questions. i agree completely about where we are on politics and appropriations. i just don't want there to be any impression on anybody in this room but the politics being played is only on one side of the aisle. that is a process ongoing and there'of ongoing andthere's toog played not only in congress that the administration as well. we need to get it done i completely agree. the second thing i would like to comment on is i am hearing a lot in the hearings where the companies are being referred to as our partners. they provide a service. we pay them for their service. we pay them for their service.
extreme that we've discussed in the last couple months. >> the navy quex. >> we have not yet but we are evaluating to determine what they earn. >> is there a process in place to withhold? >> air force. >> we are withholding all fees from one contractor for performance problems on some of their bases and other contractors we are observing their performance and they are aware of the contract withholding the. >> i think that's a good step at the air force base they are particular issues we are hearing from constituents.
>> thank you mister chairman thank you all for being here and for the military families. so at the last hearing i didn't have a very happy discussion because we had this came up about the nondisclosure agreements at the housing providers were requiring the tenants to sign before they did anything that was a legitimate complaint that i made sure everybody go back over the next 30 days to have all of those rescinded for go with our private property housing provider thought they had a great case to call me up to explain why they should have the nondisclosure agreements nobody came to my office back i thought they had been
rescinded but this week i got an e-mail with another nondisclosure agreement from monterey bay where the practice has continued through august and secretary mccarthy b will have a discussion about this. that when you were responding to the question about the satisfaction survey if you have a nondisclosure agreement that says you cannot speak even about the existence of the agreement and you can't speak disparagingly about the housing provider then how does he answer that question quex. >> that's a great question. >> right that's why this has to be eliminated. so now can i get your assurance you go through your chain of command to go to your housing providers and say this ends immediately. if you have a legitimate reason to have one then
contact me i want to hear the basis. i don't think there can be one this is a part of the problem. i have tried to be balanced every time i come in here. if you look when the contract started to be initiated in 1996 to convey property run by the government or private housing provider some of the old units were fixed then they built new units they had to make a financial decision and this is what private sector investors hopefully they made a good decision now maybe in some cases they didn't know what they were by not everybody that flips the house sometimes that works well sometimes it doesn't work out so well. there could be a basis for they said we may have sold you a bill of goods and we have
some responsibility for trying to smooth out the economic consequences of that decision. in other cases they built houses that were the problem we don't owe them a dime to fix that. that is on them. when do we look at these contracts consistent with the senator said it's time to recognize you are in breach of contract we are going to go a different way your business practices we need to end this when is enough enough quex. >> we may be there right now. >> senator in certain cases we may be there and another cases we have the responsibility as the navy over the last couple years to not pay attention to that.
>>. >> enough is enough we have had enough on some of these properties they have worn out the patients of the air force. in other instances they are doing a great job. >> i agree i don't want to go over time but i want to be fair. and sweep up the private housing providers that they are doing a good job but we probably need to make an example out of a couple of them. and to draw the line and move forward and another cases if we don't look at recapitalization i am not saying that we should take this back over because it wasn't working then you have to rely on us to give you resources how does that work out? so to have these contracts in place but we have to
rationalize what is a consistent model to the senators point i know contracts were negotiated over time and they were different but some were from the past contract at some point we have to go back and reopen this and aggressively pursue it. i don't know what other members have done but i have had town halls and i have literally met with hundreds of military families. but i had one military spouse drive up from fort benning and said we were here when you started to shine a light but now i'm inventing it is not so good. i would encourage all of my colleagues in the senate and in the house and it makes a difference for making progress
but not nearly as quickly as we should it's time to draw one with these vendors and contracts to say enough is enough. thank you mister chair. [applause] >> i don't want to step on your recognition which is appropriate. [laughter] so to get to the basic question are these contracts adequate or inadequate? was that the enforcement? >> i think it is both they were not written in such a way they could truly hold the partners accountable. >> let me stop you there. following up on the question the fundamental base of the contract doesn't require that these are not partners but contractors. banish that word i can't
believe the basic requirement was not safe and healthy habitable unit units. >> the partners and then with the health & safety code that's a requirement with all of the contracts into your second point what we have found is the services of many installations have not done everything they could to make sure that was happening when it comes to incentives to get the company to pay attention. >> but i don't think if they are not safe and inhabitable units. [applause] >> the services do have the option and that's an option available to them.
>> my experience in this kind of work implementation that there are differences in the contracts but there are basic provisions to be safe and healthy and codes so who is in charge? housing officer and secretary of defense? there has to be of what looks like endemic enforcement those that signed the agreements. >> i want somebody that can be
fired. >> that has to be done on a case-by-case basis but to point out two examples there was a break in leadership at camp lejeune in tinker air force base we went to the military housing offices they recommended to senior leadership to withhold part or all of that incentive and never got support for that. >> was that a break of the base command collects but assign somebody in charge of this. to be on the army or navy vet there is a diffuse
responsibility. candies like secretary mccarthy talk about the bill of right rights, cannot be imported into these agreements without permission or negotiation. >> we had to work with those in question but it is the chain of command but in the army's case. >> but wouldn't that be the logical place? >> the senior commanders are part of the process and they rate the commander he manages the housing relation. >> is that true in other departments quex. >> yes. let the record show.
>> a final detailed question refinancing i don't know why they need permission to refinance people refinance all the time if interest rates have gone down. what is the hold up? >> there is a scoring criteria for the project that's from omb what we referenced earlier we would like to rescind that memorandum from the nineties so we can adjust this criteria so they can go back to capital markets. >> this is within our control we can fix that quex. >> know we are working with omb on that. >> please let us know if that gets bogged down that's one way to get new life into these projects.
thank you. and where you are lodging the responsibility for the enforcement of these contracts the name of the position that the enforcement takes place you can the best contracts in the world of is not enforced and implemented properly people will suffer and that's exactly what's happening in this case. >> even if you feel that is the unreasonable expectation? record the nods. affirmative. >> also think the military families first of all thank you for your service and the sacrifices that you made and your family members what you
have done to defend this country thank you for being here today and showing up and advocating and it is absolutely outrageous and unacceptable it's unacceptable for anybody to be treated this way but for you as servicemembers and families sacrificing day in and day out for this country to be true what you have been through is a breach of faith in what this country owes to you. thank you for being here. i'm sorry what you have been dry you have my commitment to my office to do everything we can to see this does not continue. thank you for being here. so in my home state of missouri many military families in missouri he worried dozen solutions installations may be at risk. and for those to do the servicemembers that with those
military families have expressed to me in particular they have raised concerns as other companies shift their attention to fix problems in other states that they may take their eyes off the ball in missouri so secretaries let me ask you in particular what are you doing to ensure respectively they will not be shortchanged to have these glaring deficiencies elsewhere? >> to have a performance and some setting the base commander having responsibility there was
careful attention given by the local leadership so distractions by outside bases would not be a distraction. >> we are watching very closely if anything it would be to improve the performance. >> let me ask those in my state have raised concerns about servicemembers who live off base. and that military families have access to high-quality off-base housing can you address that quex. >> specifically to missouri i have to get back to that. and with respect to fort
benning in bragg. into work very hard with the local communities and that i'll get back to you specifically. >> same question. >> off-base housing there is an allowance that members get. >> and then the base allowance for housing. and it is an important memo that there are two issues that are top shelf for the families with reciprocity so as they move around the country they can continue to work on and second is quality of their
schools that has had a significant impact so thank you to the committee for all the work that has been done for all military spouses be making my time remaining so with the decline of the housing inventory. >> the department has determined the portfolio is healthy. we issued a report that while they had good mechanisms in place but they don't for the long term so the concern is well-founded. what concerns me more is there are more mechanisms in place to hold the partners accountable than for the quality of the housing.
>> thank you for that that's a very important point. >> i just don't buy the argument the chain of command can't really be held accountable. we have empowered them to enforce these contracts especially as a commander you are responsible you had troops in barracks that they are collapsing and hurting the soldiers you hold them accountable if you have a tank gunnery range that was constantly hurting the troops who are operating that range not up to standard would be
held responsible whether or not he held a contract to keep it safe for the troops to use so i don't understand why nobody has yet been fired over a failure to maintain standards. [applause] so i would like to ask each of the service chiefs so to maintain the highest quality housing for your troops and their family members is that a line item every person's evaluation report through the chain of command including yourself right now? >> it is not. >> it is at the flag level were looking at the zero six level and below. >> so no so far.
>> how many years has this been? i would like to recommend it be on there for every garrison commander until you are evaluated you can walk away and i have looked i haven't found a single person who has been fired over this. you look like you want to say something. >> i know this is not the decision that you made it's important to point out in 2013 the army issued clear instructions to replace the garrisons - - garrison commanders not to perform infections to the life and safety of those servicemembers now that has been reversed but to me i can see how they would have been confused what they were supposed to do because they were getting an instruction not to.
>> that's a good point but that's not enough it should be on the oer they will be evaluated. for every single person up the chain. and i want to touch on another topic of family members living in housing there is no safe level of lead for children to be exposed to. none those that live in the housing units that keep and maintain a database to track their health over their lifetime to receive benefits or healthcare over the course of their lifetime they cannot adjust any level so what are we doing to protect the family members in general quex. >> so when the family members
come forward in the database we can capture that. >> is that part of the briefing for every single family member with housing? you should be able to know and have traffic on - - track of every family member of every single one of these units i don't know why we put the responsibility of the family members congress should be doing this we have those records contractors do because we pay them for it why do we not maintain this we have a database quex. >> your overtime. >> we are capturing information individual health records for members and their families the challenge we have
as they go outside the military health system for their healthcare so we are looking at developing a database. >> i'm talking about you know who lives in these housing units you can go back into the housing records to make a list for every single person you know where they have been stationed why we have a list of every single person don't put it on the family members to wait until a health condition happens do it on the front and so they have a problem they can say i was at fort bragg without having to come forward. >> thank you senator. as part of my opening statement we will have another
housing hearing as early as possible next year and will have the companies back or the new ones that seem to be part of this so we can add reflect on if we ever get the nda a past with the language and we are out of time so this is a problem but first this is a large number of people it took a lot of inconvenience to be here you have been heard and you heard us so the record will stay open until close of business on wednesday for any additional questions or what i've asked of our witnesses to respond no later than friday can you respond by that time?