Congressman: Fort Hood to get $145 million for barracks
Fort Hood will receive $145 million for barracks renovation, congressmen who represents the post announced this week.
The approved funding is part of the fiscal year 2017 operation and maintenance funds passed by Congress earlier this year.
Rep. John Carter, R-Round Rock, worked with House leadership and the Army to ensure this critical funding was made available to one of the military’s premier installations, Carter’s office announced in a release.
“I am proud to represent the ‘Great Place’ in Congress. Over the years, I have worked closely with Fort Hood leadership to ensure our soldiers have what they need to succeed, and this is a huge win,” Carter said. “I have seen firsthand the despicable condition many of the barracks are in today. With this funding, we will be able to provide proper housing for soldiers, which raises morale and improves readiness, making our Army even stronger.”
Carter's fellow Republican, Roger Williams, R-Austin, who also represents a portion of the post, sent a separate release about the funding.
"As the representative of Texas’ 25th Congressional District, I have visited the Army barracks on post numerous times throughout my duration in office," Williams said. "Since first being elected, I have made fighting for adequate means to be appropriated to Fort Hood, so our brave service men and women can have proper and livable housing, a top priority. I was proud to testify earlier this year to this specific Fort Hood-need in front of the Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies on the House Committee on Appropriations. This funding will enhance operational readiness and is long overdue. These soldiers voluntarily give the ultimate sacrifice to our nation and these resources will allow for upgrades and repairs for 15 enlisted housing barracks. Fort Hood is a treasure of Texas and our nation, and I am proud to represent this 340-square-mile installation that serves as the gold standard for the Army.”
The funding will allow for upgrades and repairs to 15 enlisted housing barracks, many of which were condemned, according to Carter’s office. Repairs will include heating and cooling, replacing electrical wiring, plumbing, lighting fixtures, stairways, ceilings, walls and other exterior and interior repairs.
Fort Hood leadership has been talking publicly for the need of the upgrades in recent months.
During a speech in Killeen in November, former III Corps and Fort Hood commander Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland said funding cuts to the Army have led to a lack of upgrades to aging combat equipment, and of the 99 barracks at Fort Hood, half are below acceptable standards.
“Something’s gotta give,” MacFarland said at the time.
Buildings across the Army post were constructed in the 1980s before information technology supported Wi-Fi and internet connections, so, said MacFarland, you’ll see “soldiers standing outside” those buildings “trying to get a signal on their Blackberry phones…. It’s a challenge.”
He blamed the cutbacks on sequestration, a provision of the Budget Control Act of 2011 that imposes across-the-board spending cuts over a period of years if Congress and the White House cannot agree on more targeted cuts aimed at reducing the budget deficit.
Fort Hood’s current population is about 36,000 soldiers.
In June, retired Maj. Gen. Ken Cox, a former III Corps and Fort Hood commander, addressed the need for Fort Hood’s infrastructure to be modernized at a Military Officers Association of America meeting in Killeen. Cox said Fort Hood received little in the amount of funding for upgrading the post’s dilapidated infrastructure in recent years.
“Several other installations around the Army got significant growth in infrastructure, new facilities and new capabilities,” Cox said. “Fort Hood was the deployment post and so they really spent zero dollars upgrading the infrastructure, the barracks, the motor pools, the hangars and the command and control facilities.”
Cox said Fort Hood had a $2.4 billion bill to fix the post’s infrastructure.
“That is substantial when the entire bill to the Army is $10.9 billion, Fort Hood comprises 25 percent of that,” Cox said.