Kirk Questions Cost of Army’s General / Flag Officer Quarters

WASHINGTON–(ENEWSPF)–June 16, 2011.  United States Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Ranking Member on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, yesterday wrote to Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh asking that the U.S. Army immediately review the costs associated with maintaining the Army’s General/Flag Officer Quarters. Currently, the Army maintains 71 separate quarters that exceed the $35,000 statutory Operation and Management limit and plans to spend a combined $10 million on them in 2012.

“At a time when the United States is borrowing 40 cents of every dollar it spends, American taxpayers should not be on the hook for these outrageously expensive residences,” Senator Kirk said. “With such serious fiscal issues facing our country we need to make sure tax dollars are being spent efficiently– the Pentagon is no exception.”

Senator Kirk specifically inquired about three projects; one in Miami, Florida which the Army leases for $66,000 a year and has requested an additional $190,000 for maintenance and upgrades during 2012. Another in Stuttgart, Germany which, although owned by the German government, the Army has requested $1.5 million for the property in 2012 – $1.4 million of it going to renovations of the grounds. The third case comes from Chievres, Belgium where the Army has asked to be able to spend $10 million purchasing land to avoid the need to pay expensive leases. Senator Kirk has requested detailed information, including full audits of the expenses related to the Miami and German properties as well as a progress report on the property search in Belgium.

The expenses associated with these residences were discovered in a review of the expenditures of the Army’s General/Flag Officer Quarters exceeding the $35,000 statutory Operations and Maintenance limit. While the Army has 71 quarters that exceed the statutory limit, the U.S. Air Force has one while the Navy reported nine quarters over the limit.

The full text of Senator Kirk’s letter can be read here.