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Housing requirements for military and civilian personnel at Army, Navy, and Air Force installations in the United States-Continued

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Housing requirements for military and civilian personnel at Army, Navy, and Air Force installations in the United States-Continued

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Housing requirements for military and civilian personnel at Army, Navy, and Air Force installations in the United States—Continued

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Senator CAIN. The change in character of the personnel of the Military Establishment is enlarging your problem of housing for all services gigantically. Do I understand correctly that before the last war the average personnel in the Military Establishment were not possessed of wife and family, and that there has been a changing characteristic? You are seeking continuing or permanent personnel with families, and now we are being required to find a solution to provide housing for families where a few short years ago the question in enlarged sense was restricted to individuals?

Secretary SYMINGTON. I think that is true-plus the fact that all the time, in all three services, it is necessary to have men with more skill.

Senator CAIN. Yes.

Secretary SYMINGTON. Generally older people, with a higher living standard.

The CHAIRMAN. The Senator from Alabama.

Senator SPARKMAN. I just want to ask a couple of questions. I was impressed with that figure of 254,000 units. Now, if I read the substitute correctly, you require all of these to be under contract by sometime in 1950. Is that not pushing it pretty fast to expect that number to be built within that time?

Senator WHERRY. I made that provision only for 1 year; but, if you followed my testimony, I said if we could not complete it then we would have to ask Congress to extend it. But all they have to do is be started.


Senator SPARKMAN. You want to accelerate it as fast as possible? Senator WHERRY. Yes. I think if you put it off too long it delays We said here they had to start their plans. See what I mean? I think that gives quite a lot of latitude. That gives them 1 year, or about 15 months now. Then, if we find out at that time there is a terrific bottleneck, we can extend the time. That was my theory about

it. I think, if we put it off, it will just put off the day when they will get the plans started anyhow.

Senator SPARKMAN. I would like to ask the Secretary one question. What effect will this program have on the regular housing program of the armed services? I am referring to quarters and homes being built on installations.

Secretary SYMINGTON. Well, it would have a very good effect on the over-all picture of the three services, but it would have no effect really on the over-all housing program, in that we have built very little housing. For all three services we will still need money to build permanently from what we hope to get in our normal military budget. Speaking for the Air Force, for example, in 1948, we had no housing construction at all. Last year we had around $13,000,000 for actual housing construction. Somehow it seems that in all three services, when we get down to the final cutting, housing loses out.

That is one reason we all are so grateful to Senator Wherry for making this analysis, and to Senator Maybank and Senator Tydings for their bill, which shows a way to get around this constant cutting of the housing problem out of the military picture, by getting private enterprise into the picture.

Senator SPARKMAN. Of course, back before the war, back when our services were very, very small, there was a time when most of our personnel, commissioned officers and noncommissioned officers, were given quarters on posts. We will never be able to do that again, will we?

Secretary SYMINGTON. No, sir; not with this set-up.

Senator SPARKMAN. Well, now, I am just wondering if this is to be merely supplemental to the post housing program or if it is to be a substitute.

Secretary SYMINGTON. No, sir. Supplemental.

The CHAIRMAN. But you have such a small program it is infinitesimal, you might say, in keeping the armed forces up to date? Secretary SYMINGTON. That is true.

The CHAIRMAN. I know last year we gave you some $13,000,000. I do not know what you will get in the appropriation this year because the armed-services appropriation bill has not yet been taken up in the Senate committee. The House has just passed it. How much, for instance, do you expect to have this year?

Secretary SYMINGTON. That is a hard question to answer. In the actual appropriations bill for the Air Force, we only have $5,000,000. The CHAIRMAN. That is all you have?

Secretary SYMINGTON. Then we have a special construction bill coming up. We hope to get more out of that construction bill.


The CHAIRMAN. You have an appropriation construction bill? Secretary SYMINGTON. Yes, sir, a special construction bill coming

The CHAIRMAN. Now, that would be for the fields and housing all together?

Secretary SYMINGTON. For all three services.

The CHAIRMAN. How much of that would be for houses?

Secretary SYMINGTON. Very little. It has been the history of this problem.

The CHAIRMAN. That is exactly what I say. You are not getting the necessary housing appropriated through the military bills. Secretary SYMINGTON. That is right, Mr. Chairman.

The CHAIRMAN. You are getting a very small proportion of what is needed, and the people are congested in city slum areas, as you described awhile ago, if my information is correct.

Secretary SYMINGTON. That is quite correct, sir. In other words, it looks as if we have not considered, in the four budgets I have been involved in in the Military Establishment, that housing is an essential to our national defense.

The CHAIRMAN. You want appropriations for airfields, you want appropriations for bombers, and so on. That is your main appropriation.

Secretary SYMINGTON. Yes; but for example, a boy enlists; and it then takes him years to become a technically efficient engine mechanic, let us say. In all services that would be true. Also for a radar expert. After we have put the people's money into him to the point where he is perhaps worth a hundred thousand dollars to us, then, when the reenlistment period comes up we do not give him the incentive to reenlist. As a result, because he has no home, we save a few pennies on housing, but lose thousands and thousands of dollars in training


In some of our stations the reenlistment rate is as low as 7 percent, and by all odds the highest reason for not reenlisting is lack of housing facilities.

The CHAIRMAN. You showed me those figures.

Secretary SYMINGTON. Yes, sir. In other places, where we have adequate housing, the reenlistments will run as high as 75 to 90 percent. The CHAIRMAN. One more question, and then Senator Cain wanted to ask a question. There has been reference made to the postwar period following World War I. Is it not a fact that the services today require more highly skilled men with more technical knowledge than was required after World War I because of the changing of war conditions?

Secretary SYMINGTON. No question about that, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. There is an entirely different type of man in the service.

Secretary SYMINGTON. No question about that; absolutely.
The CHAIRMAN. Go ahead, Senator Cain.

Senator CAIN. Mr. Secretary, you can satisfy a real curiosity I have, which I have gained from one of the chapters of the Hoover Commission recommendations. If I understand you correctly, you are substantially in support of this proposed legislation because you think it will provide houses for your personnel and that of the whole Military Establishment to live in. The bill provides that houses outside of this country can be built at an increase of 333 percent, so if we take our median rate of $9,000 and add a third to that, that is a $12,000 house.

Yet, your Air Force construction program, as reflected in the 1950 budget, and I am quoting from this Hoover report, included the building of 910 family houses in Alaska at a cost of $58,350 a house. The Air Force also proposed to build 828 family houses on Guam at a cost of $48,000 a house. Also the Air Force wished to build 7,880 family houses in the United States at a cost on the average of $18,600 apiece.

Now, if we are going to get any substantial housing out of the proposed legislation before us, we ought certainly to give no further

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