WASHINGTON, DC - Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-1), along with Reps. Richard Hudson (NC-9). Don Bacon (NE-2), Dan Bishop (NC-8), Lloyd Smucker (PA-11), Tom Kean, Jr. (NJ-7), Brian Mast (FL-21), Greg Pence (IN-6), August Pfluger (TX-11), Beth Van Duyne (TX-24), Pat Fallon (TX-4), and Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-1), sent a letter to U.S. Army Secretary Christine Wormuth requesting immediate action to address the Army's poor housing conditions within military barracks and other housing units, including poor air and water quality, mold, and PFAS contamination.

Read the full letter here or below:

June 28, 2024

Dear Secretary Wormuth,

As Members of the U.S. House of Representatives, we write to you today requesting swift action to address the current state of indoor environmental conditions in the Army's existing barracks and housing portfolio.

Substandard indoor environmental conditions in military housing pose a significant health risk to our military personnel and are contributing to long term chronic illnesses and growing liabilities. These living environments have become a detriment to our recruiting and retention, as well as the readiness and resiliency of our warfighters. The current conditions of these facilities, including poor air and water quality, mold, and PFAS contamination, need to be rectified swiftly.

In 2023, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report that unveiled hazardous health conditions within military barracks, and the recent Quality of Life report further highlighted the inadequate living conditions in barracks. The basic standard of living we provide for our service members and their families must be free from toxins, chemicals and other pollutants. While the Army invests in long-term construction projects for new housing facilities, we must prioritize portfolio-wide solutions that can be implemented without delay across existing barracks and other housing units to address critical indoor health categories for all service members.

We acknowledge the progress the Department of Defense has made in its Strategy for Resilient & Healthy Defense Communities (RHDC), which calls for the adoption of new and innovative ways to ensure the health and well-being of our service members and their families. Additionally, we are encourage by recent actions taken in privatized accompanied housing, including publicly announced commitments to meet third-party indoor health certifications with improvements to indoor air, humidity, light and water quality. These solutions have proven to be highly effective at Fort Meade and Fort Liberty, helping to position homes to meet certifiable standards for indoor health at mere fractions of the dollars necessary for major renovations or new construction.

The Army must utilize viable, scalable, and evidence-based approaches to improve its housing conditions. The criteria selection for implementation of these solutions must be grounded in third-party testing and measured against industry standards for indoor health to ensure effective action has been taken. The improvements should be consistently maintained, reported and measured against the same industry standards for indoor health to ensure scientific thresholds for health and safety continue to be met over time.

Considering the above, we recognize that significant progress still needs to be made to further improve military housing conditions. We ask that you answer the following conditions related to the immediate steps the Army is taking to address the conditions of its barracks and housing portfolio:

  1. What action does the Army plan to take with remaining FY 2024 funds to immediately address current indoor environmental concerns across existing barracks facilities?
  2. What is preventing rapid adoption of indoor health upgrade strategies that have proven to be effective in privatized housing, such as at Fort Meade and Fort Liberty, across the Army's housing portfolio, including barracks?
  3. What portion of the Army's FY 2025 budget request is allocated explicitly to improving existing facilities regarding indoor health contaminants and other indoor environmental quality concerns? Is there a breakdown of where this money will be directed as it relates to specific military installations and projects on those installations? If so, where and what amount?
  4. How does the Army plan to use industry benchmarks and standards for indoor health and safety to validate that the actions taken to improve living conditions are effective and sustained over time?

We look forward to your timely response on this important matter and stand ready to work with you to action rapid solutions to improve the overall living conditions for our service members and their families.