During a House Armed Services Committee hearing on February 7th, the Pentagon faced tough questions from lawmakers regarding the deplorable state of military barracks. Brendan Owens, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations, and Environment, admitted to Congress that no personnel have been fired or held accountable for the longstanding issues of mold and other substandard conditions in the barracks. This lack of accountability, as highlighted by committee members, may be a significant obstacle to rectifying the situation.
Representatives from both sides of the aisle criticized the Pentagon’s management of barracks, emphasizing the necessity for greater oversight and responsibility. The discussions also touched upon the Government Accountability Office’s findings from September, which documented widespread problems across ten military installations, including mold infestations and inadequate heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. With over 850,000 bed spaces in need of attention, the Defense Department acknowledged the shortfall in maintaining the quality of housing for service members.