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New report confirms that excusing bad military housing with high occupancy rates is total BS
A government official finally put to rest on Tuesday the lazy excuse that if privatized military housing was really that bad, service members would simply move out.
Elizabeth Field, director of the Government Accountability Office Defense Capabilities and Management, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that one of the metrics the Defense Department uses to measure privatized housing success is high occupancy rates.
In a May report, she said, the DoD called occupancy rates indicative of "high level of service member satisfaction and overall success."
"Through our site visits to 10 installations, where we conducted 15 focus groups with families, we learned that family members often choose to live in privatized housing for reasons that have nothing to do with the housing itself," Field said, presenting a new report from the GAO over the DoD's oversight of privatized housing. "Reasons such as living in close proximity to medical and education services for children with special needs, or a concern that off-base housing is neither affordable nor safe."
Figuring this out shouldn't take an in-depth government investigation — speaking with any service member or military spouse who has had problems with housing, yet decided to stay on-post, could have perhaps made this clear.
An active-duty Navy spouse told Task & Purpose earlier this year that the reason she and her family have decided to stay in privatized housing is because of proximity to daycare, the commissary, and living in a community with other military families who understand their experiences.
But it's a talking point used by both the Department and the housing companies.
In a February Senate hearing with housing company executives, Jarl Bliss, the head of Lincoln Military Housing said that if his company was to "cut corners and provide lower quality housing" service members wouldn't live in their homes.
"To the contrary, the military installations LMH services have some of the highest occupancy rates in the country," he said.
Corvias CEO John Picerne alluded to the same idea, saying in his opening statement at the same hearing that occupancy rates "soared above 93%" at Fort Meade when Corvias took over the housing.
In emails obtained by Task & Purpose for a story earlier this year on housing companies forcing NDAs on residents in order to remediate issues, an official from Navy Installations Command said that because a family who had documented problems with mold wasn't accepting another house, they "must not feel there is a great danger to health and safety at the current unit."
In reality, the family wanted to stay in their home because their young son was recently diagnosed with Autism.
Recognizing this problem is important for many reasons, one of those being that measures of success like this are "often directly tied to the performance incentive fees provided to the private partners," according to the GAO report. These are the incentive fees that the services say they're going to withhold if companies don't shape up, though there's debate over whether that will actually work.
Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) got right to the heart of the issue on Tuesday, saying that if companies aren't performing at the level they should be, "I don't think they should be paid even the basic rent … forget about incentives."
Lawmakers were dismayed on Tuesday as to why the housing problem persists, and demanded answers from each of the service secretaries and chiefs who were present. At one point, Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) told the committee's witnesses to stop calling the housing companies "partners."
"They are not our partners."
The U.S. Space Force has a name tape for uniforms now. Get excited people.
In a tweet from its official account, the Space Force said its uniform name tapes have "touched down in the Pentagon," sharing a photo of it on the chest of Gen. John W. Raymond, the newly-minted Chief of Space Operations for the new service branch nested in the Department of the Air Force.
PALM BEACH, Fla. (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump gave a minute-to-minute account of the U.S. drone strikes that killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in remarks to a Republican fund-raising dinner on Friday night, according to audio obtained by CNN.
With his typical dramatic flourish, Trump recounted the scene as he monitored the strikes from the White House Situation Room when Soleimani was killed.
The U.S. Navy will name its fourth Ford-class aircraft carrier after Doris Miller, an iconic World War II sailor recognized for his heroism during the Pearl Harbor attack, according to reports in The Honolulu Star-Advertiser and U.S. Naval Institute News.
Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly is expected to announce the naming of CVN-81 during a ceremony on Monday in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, according to USNI. Two of Miller's nieces are expected to be there, according to the Star-Advertiser.
Two immigrants, a pastor and an Army sergeant have been convicted of conspiracy to commit marriage fraud as part of an illegal immigration scheme, according to federal prosecutors.
Rajesh Ramcharan, 45; Diann Ramcharan, 37; Sgt. Galima Murry, 31; and the Rev. Ken Harvell, 60, were found guilty Thursday after a nine-day jury trial, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney's office in Colorado.
The conspiracy involved obtaining immigration benefits for Rajesh Ramcharan, Diann Ramcharan, and one of their minor children, the release said. A married couple in 2007 came to the U.S. from Trinidad and Tobago on visitor visas. They overstayed the visas and settled in Colorado.
DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran said on Saturday it was sending to Ukraine the black boxes from a Ukrainian passenger plane that the Iranian military shot down this month, an accident that sparked unrest at home and added to pressure on Tehran from abroad.
Iran's Tasnim news agency also reported the authorities were prepared for experts from France, Canada and the United States to examine information from the data and voice recorders of the Ukraine International Airlines plane that came down on Jan. 8.
The plane disaster, in which all 176 aboard were killed, has added to international pressure on Iran as it grapples with a long running row with the United States over its nuclear program that briefly erupted into open conflict this month.