An August 2023 report obtained by Army Times via the Freedom of Information Act reveals significant failings in the Army’s housing inspection program. The program, revamped in 2020, did not adequately ensure that on-base homes built before 1978 were free from hazards like lead-based paint and asbestos. A lack of oversight and disagreements over who should pay for advanced risk assessments are cited as major reasons for the inadequacies. Army spokesperson Matt Ahearn states that the Army is taking steps to address these concerns.
- Oversight Failures: The Army Audit Agency found that the Army’s revamped housing inspection program failed to provide effective oversight, resulting in inadequate assessments of homes for lead-based paint and asbestos risks.
- Financial Disagreements: No reviewed homes had received advanced lead paint risk assessments due to disputes over who should bear the costs.
- Tenant Safety Risks: More than 75% of homes that had tenant changes lacked documented visual inspections for lead-based paint, posing health risks to incoming families.
- Accountability Gaps: Most of the U.S. military’s domestic on-base family housing is managed by private companies, leading to questions about accountability and whether the companies or the military should be responsible for safety measures.
- Congressional Concerns: Rep. Marilyn Strickland, who sits on the House Armed Services Committee’s quality of life panel, states that the issue has not been adequately addressed and will impact future recruiting if not resolved.