Armed Services Panel Applauds Utilities Privatization, School Renovation Initiatives

The House Armed Services Committee praised two initiatives that are resulting in upgraded facilities across DOD installations — utilities privatization and the construction and renovation of schools operated by local districts — in its report accompanying the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill.

The department’s utilities privatization initiative has been able “to achieve greater efficiencies and reduce operating costs while recapitalizing aging utilities infrastructure with modern, reliable systems,” the committee stated. “In addition, the committee notes that utilities privatization can also enhance support to military missions,” according to the report.

In turn, the panel encourages the services “to continue to pursue utility privatization initiatives when they are supported by a business case analysis and are in the best interest of the government in terms of efficiency, operating costs and mission assurance.”

The committee similarly encouraged DOD to continue an ongoing effort to construct, renovate, repair or expand elementary and secondary schools operated by local school districts on military installations that are in poor condition or experiencing overcrowding.

“In awarding grants to local education agencies, OEA [the Office of Economic Adjustment] has given priority consideration to those military installations with schools having the most serious capacity and facility condition deficiencies, as determined by the Department of Defense in a July 2011 priority list,” the report states.

The committee also requested the department provide a report on the condition and capacity of certain schools on the priority list. Last month, OEA announced it would be allocating $175 million from the FY 2015 defense spending bill to upgrade and expand local schools.

The legislation, H.R. 1735, and the committee report are available on the committee website.

Dan Cohen
Dan Cohen

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