There has been recent attention on the national scope of dangerous conditions in military base housing, including children poisoned by lead and lapses in oversight that have put military families at risk.
Once I learned about these appalling conditions, I took action. I filed an amendment requiring the Government Accountability Office to report on lead in military housing and detail how unsafe levels will be addressed. This legislation passed in September. Senator Mark Warner and I asked the Army for a plan to address the dangerous conditions found on its bases, including Fort Belvoir in Virginia. And at an Armed Services Committee hearing last month, I called on our military leaders and the private companies responsible for maintaining base housing to work together to quickly fix these problems.
These are important first steps, but we need to do more to ensure military families in Virginia and across the country feel safe in their own homes. That’s why Senator Warner and I joined together in writing to the Secretaries of the Navy, Army, and Air Force to get more information on housing at bases across Virginia, including Dahlgren, Wallops, Quantico, Fort Belvoir, Fort Story, Fort Eustis, Fort Lee, and Joint Base Langley-Eustis. And it’s why I’ll be going to military installations in Virginia this month to see these problems firsthand.
Using this information, I’ll work across the aisle with my colleagues on the Armed Services Committee to determine what changes we need to make in this year’s defense authorization bill to address this problem. And I’ll keep pressing our military leadership until its fixed.
Military families make enormous sacrifices in service to our nation, and they deserve safe housing. As the father of a Marine and Co-Chair of the Senate Military Families Caucus, this is personal to me. Supporting military families is not only about making sure our troops are safe and ready to protect our nation but about doing the right thing for those who selflessly serve.