FORT WAINWRIGHT – U.S Army Alaska and U.S Army Garrison Alaska leadership held a town hall today as part of an ongoing effort across the Army to identify and resolve any unsatisfactory conditions in installation housing and barracks. The senior Army commander in the state, Maj. Gen. Mark O’Neil, U.S. Army Alaska commanding general, opened the forum for Army family housing and Soldier barracks residents in the Last Frontier Community Center. More than 120 people participated.
O’Neil told attendees on Fort Wainwright that, “Taking care of our Army families is a fundamental responsibility, and in my two years as commander of U.S. Army Alaska our collective team has worked hard every day to meet that responsibility… but we should never be satisfied with the status quo, we should always strive to make things better.”
Town hall events are being held Army-wide at the direction of Secretary of the Army Dr. Mark Esper, Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Mark A. Milley and Sergeant Major of the Army Daniel Dailey.
Fort Wainwright’s housing contracting partner, North Haven Communities, joined O’Neil, U.S. Army Garrison Alaska Commander Col. Sean Fisher and other community leaders as they listened to resident concerns and provided information on the next steps for assessing homes to ensure the Army is meeting its obligations to provide safe, quality Soldier and Family housing.
The town hall was the first part of the ongoing Army-wide effort to connect with Soldiers and Army families by March 2 to ensure any life, health and safety concerns are identified and corrected. In the coming weeks, Army leaders will continue to engage with families, conduct analyses and determine future actions to ensure that Soldiers and their families are getting the service and responsiveness that they deserve.
Within the next 30 days, Army family housing residents will be contacted by leaders at the company level and below and asked if they want a visit to discuss any concerns with their housing, Fisher said. Residents may opt out of a leadership visit. Information gathered about housing condition will be provided to the Garrison Directorate of Public Works Housing Office and to North Haven Communities to assess problems and complete repairs.
In order to support readiness over the last decades, the Army privatized 98 percent of installation family housing in the U.S. to improve the quality of installation housing faster than possible using traditional military construction. This was achieved on Army posts through the Army’s Residential Communities Initiative, or RCI, established in the mid-nineties to partner with commercial entities. There are more than 1,600 privatized family housing units in eight residential neighborhoods managed by North Haven Communities LLC as a partnership between the U.S. Army and Lend Lease.
The video of the meeting can be seen on Facebook here.