|Military Dormitories (Barracks)|
|The New Standard -- One-Plus-One|
[Editor's Note: The "20/20" plan, now known as the "One Plus One" Plan was approved by the Secretary of Defense for all of the services in 1997. Because of funding concerns, implementation, across all of the services will take several years. The current plan calls for all of the services to offer a single room (no roommate) to all single enlisted personnel (with the exception of boot camp, ships, deployment locations, and schools), by the year 2005. The plan will then move to the next phase, which will include giving all single enlisted personnel a shared living area, plus a shared or private kitchnette.
Article by MSgt. Louis A. Arana-Barradas
WASHINGTON -- The first step of Air Force's Vision 2020 plan to provide airmen vastly improved dormitories is nearing reality as the blueprint for modernizing all Department of Defense single enlisted quarters.
The Army, Navy and Marine Corps agreed Jan. 9 (1995) to adopt a common construction standard featuring private sleeping rooms for enlisted dormitories in all the armed services.
Sent to the Defense Installation Policy Board Jan. 19, the plan now awaits approval by Defense Secretary William Perry. [EDITORS NOTE: The plan is now approved, and in the process of implementation]
The Air Force first introduced the private room concept in early 1993, said Maj. Gen. James E. McCarthy, the Air Force civil engineer. He added that the aim of the first step of Vision 2020 is to provide unaccompanied servicemembers dormitories with private bedrooms, walk-in closets and a shared bathroom and kitchenette.
The long-range plan calls for eventual conversion to an efficiency apartment standard slated for completion by 2020.
"Our surveys indicated our troops wanted privacy, privacy, privacy where they lived," McCarthy said. "Young people have different expectations today. They have different lifestyles. That room ought to be their home. They should be able to be by themselves once in a while."
Vision 2020 is the Air Force attempt to provide airmen the privacy and living conditions they want, more akin to those found in off-base apartments. "That is a major change from the way we have billeted our people in the past," McCarthy said.
The new plan will replace the "two plus two" scheme adopted by DOD more than a decade ago. Under this plan, two people live in one room and share a bathroom with two people in an adjacent room. Roommates shared -- including closet space -- a 180-square-foot room.
That standard hasn't been fully implemented and only about 72 percent of Air Force single enlisted people live in these type dormitories [1995 statistics].
The other 28 percent still live two people to a room with "gang latrine" standards.
The new standard would give each person a private room with about 115 square feet, apart from the walk-in closet.
"If we get the authority, we would probably first apply the new standard in replacing the old dormitories with gang latrines," McCarthy said.
However, he said "two plus two" dorms are still being constructed. In fiscal year 1995, $91 million was earmarked for this type construction -- which added more than 4,000 bed spaces. "I would expect us to continue spending around $100 million to $120 million every year on dormitory construction.
"At that rate, implementing the new standard (replacing the gang latrine dormitories) will take from eight to 10 years," McCarthy said. The cost would be about $1 billion.
The general said that time period could be less if more Air Force budget dollars were put into the plan. "But the Air Force chief of staff has a lot of choices to make in the budget, including other quality of life issues."
In addition to constructing new standard dormitories, Air Force wants to put one airman to a room in the existing "two plus two" dormitories and move the rest off base in those communities where housing is available and affordable.
However, that would increase basic allowance for quarters spending by an additional $50 million a year, McCarthy said. "That $50 million would have to come from somewhere else."
At Luke AFB, Ariz., A1C Matthew L. Summers of the 56th Fighter Wing public affairs office is luckier than some of his peers at other bases. He lives in a "two plus two" dormitory and shares a bathroom, but he doesn't have a roommate. "It's great because I like my privacy."
But all isn't rosy, he said. Because he's on the small wing staff, he lives in the component repair squadron dormitory. "They work swing shifts and come in and out at all times of the day and night. It took some getting used to," he said.
The airman said he plans to make the Air Force a career and the prospects of being able to move into one of the new apartment-style dorms would be "awesome." "When I go home at night I want to be alone," Summers said. "I like my personal space, my freedom. And it would be great to be able to cook."
New standard dormitories will cost more. And in the wake of criticism of the armed services' readiness, some people believe defense dollars should go toward maintaining a ready combat fighting force.
McCarthy said he believes providing the troops better places to live is fundamental in maintaining readiness, "an investment in the productivity and motivation" of the force.
He said it didn't "make a lot of sense" to send young airmen through basic training, up to 52 weeks of technical school, then out on the flightline and expect them to do perfect work fixing airplanes if they lived "in a lousy room."
The new plan, McCarthy said, shows troops "we're putting money behind our statements, not just making statements."
"This (commitment) is fundamental to readiness -- as much a part of readiness as spare parts for airplanes," he said.
One week from pinning on his first stripe, AB David A. Poirier has been in the Air Force six months and knows only the gang-latrine dormitory life. A KC-10 hydraulics mechanic at Travis AFB, Calif., the 9th Air Refueling Squadron member shares a room. Though he said it "isn't that bad" because his roommate is a friend he went through technical school with, he has complaints about living in an "ancient dormitory."
"Where we live now we have old furniture, it's dark and the heat doesn't work very well," he said. "And I can't stand the bathroom; it's cold and damp."
Across the street from Poirier's dormitory, a new 2 plus 2 dormitory is being completed and he said he occasionally looks out his window at it. Told he might be moving into the new dormitory in May, he said the day won't come soon enough.
"I can't wait to move there," Poirier said. "I'll finally have my own room and some privacy."
Army One-Plus-One Barracks
2003 - The Army continues to make barracks improvements its number one facilities priority. Every year, more single soldiers are seeing evidence of the Army's commitment to providing soldiers with the best possible living conditions. Dozens of projects for new 1+1 barracks and renovation of existing barracks, exceeding $1 billion, are in design or under construction.
Unlike the other Services, the Army is not building just barracks. In many CONUS locations, the Army plans to provide a complete complex to support all aspects of a soldier's life in garrison.
These complexes include soldier community buildings, consolidated dayrooms, common fully-equipped kitchen, mailroom and laundry. Company operations buildings have bulk storage for TA-50 field gear, so that duffel bags will no longer dominate the sleeping room.
Storage, shower facilities and mud-rooms for cleaning gear and boots are designed to accommodate all soldiers in the unit, not just those in the barracks. Brigade and battalion headquarters and dining facilities in separate buildings are also incorporated into the complex.
Individual barracks units provide each soldier with a private, well-appointed bedroom. Two junior enlisted soldiers share a common kitchenette and bath in a two-bedroom suite, hence the "1+1" label. Senior enlisted soldiers have a private suite including a separate furnished living room.
PACAF opens its first 1+1 dorm in 1998
Senior Airman Adam Stump
EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska (PACAFNS) -- Thirty-seven Eielson airmen between the ranks of senior airmen and airmen first class moved in to Pacific Air Force's first "1+1" dormitory March 5 (1998).
The renovated dormitory received a $4.1 million facelift, according to Pat Hill, chief of unaccompanied housing. The new rooms are 118 square-feet each. They have enough space for a
bed, dresser, night stand and entertainment center. Each also has a walk-in closet or sliding door closet, depending on which floor plan the airman chooses. All rooms come with a ceiling fan, two-way opening window, a sink and medicine cabinet.
Each pair of rooms shares a bathroom and kitchen, which vary in design because there are four different floor plans. A 17-cubic-foot refrigerator, microwave, apartment-size stove, cabinets, eating counter and barstools are standard in each kitchen. Bathrooms have both a shower and a tub.
Each floor is equipped with four washers and dryers, and each has a day room. There is a large day room and mailroom in the basement.
The dormitories were a welcome sight to at least one airman.
"I think this is magnificent," said Airman 1st Class Derrick Vinson, 354th Civil Engineer Squadron. "This [the kitchen] gives me a good opportunity to eat what I want. The walk-in closets are great too because now I can store my A-bag in my room instead of hauling it upstairsfrom the basement every time there's an exercise."
Col. Tommy Crawford, 354th Fighter Wing commander, said the dormitory shows the Air Force, Pacific Air Forces and Eielson want to provide good housing for its junior enlisted members.
"These dorms show that we're dedicated to quality-of-life upgrades for our airmen," he said. "We want to give them a good place to go home to after the work day is done, and I hope we can do that for every airman on Eielson."
Three other bases -- Kunsan Air Base, South Korea; Osan Air Base, South Korea; and Kadena Air Base, Japan -- have 1+1 dorms under construction, according to PACAF civil engineers.
Above Information Courtesy of United States Air Force