The future of military housing is in question due to budget cuts significantly reducing defense spending.
President Barack Obama’s proposed defense budget of $495.6 billion in discretionary budget authority to fund defense programs in fiscal year 2015 is $0.4 billion less than the enacted FY 2014 appropriation.
According to the U.S. Department of Defense, the budget request reflects a balance between readiness, capacity and capability, resulting in a military force that can fulfill the defense strategy, but with some increased levels of risk.
“To free up funds for defense mission needs, the FY 2015 budget continues the recent emphasis on improved efficiency across DoD. Efficiency actions include 20% cut in headquarters operation budgets, reduced contractor funding, targeted reductions in civilian personnel, reductions in funding for defense support agencies, savings in military healthy care, and savings from deferred military construction projects and family housing,” the DoD said.
The military continues to reduce its active-duty military force by approximately 130,000 soldiers to a pre-World War II size by 2017, according to an article by Roger Pietka, an associate with NewOak.
Military bases like Fort Bragg are dealing with a surplus of empty houses and apartments and a shrinking pool of renters, an article in News & Observer said.
The article noted that people are moving out at the same rate, but they are not seeing the troops coming in to replace them, causing property managers to have to come up with creative ways to fill their units and bring numbers up. In addition, property managers have to overcome the fact that families are not required to live on post.
“As on-site and off-site housing projects seek to incentivize military personnel and battle in this tug-of-war, housing participants must recognize the various implications of proposed DoD budgets, developments in local housing markets and overall operations,” Pietka said.
“The future sustainability and performance of military housing projects inevitably is dependent on the effectiveness of management, the soundness of revenue streams and total available personnel,” he continued.