Army Program Comment for Inter-War Era Historic Army Housing 1919-1940

PROGRAM COMMENT FOR DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY INTER-WAR ERA HISTORIC HOUSING, ASSOCIATED BUILDINGS AND STRUCTURES, AND LANDSCAPE FEATURES (1919-1940)

AN INNOVATIVE SOLUTION FOR HISTORIC ARMY HOUSING

The Program Comment for Department of the Army Inter-War Era Historic Housing, Associated Buildings and Structures, and Landscape Features (1919-1940) was formally adopted by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation on September 4, 2020.

The Army is faced with the extraordinary requirement of managing the largest inventory of historic housing in the federal government.  The Army has an obligation to preserve historic housing in compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act, but that must occur in balance with the overall well-being of the Soldiers and their families who live in this housing.  The Army’s obligation to military families in the context of this large inventory of historic housing presents unique and significant challenges. 

The Army must provide quality of life for Soldiers and their families; manage high maintenance, repair, and rehabilitation costs for historic housing; address historic building materials that present lead-based paint, asbestos, and other hazards to housing occupants; address the need for additional bedrooms and expanded living space, kitchen and bathroom improvements, modernization of heating and ventilation systems, and modernization of plumbing and electrical systems; and must rapidly turn around homes for reassigned military families; all while preserving the historic and architectural character of the housing.  The magnitude of this challenge requires that we shape our historic preservation compliance actions in new and innovative ways.  This Program Comment was developed in partnership with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation to meet this uniquely Army challenge.

This Program Comment addresses the Army’s National Historic Preservation Act compliance requirements for its nation-wide inventory of over 3,200 Inter-War Era housing units.  It successfully balances historic preservation requirements with the well-being of thousands of military families who live in this historic housing.  The management actions addressed by this Program Comment directly improve the material living conditions and the quality of life, health, and safety of the Army’s Soldiers and families who live in Inter-War Era housing, while the treatment measures ensure the historic and architectural character of this housing is preserved.

The Program Comment for Department of the Army Inter-War Era Historic Housing, Associated Buildings and Structures, and Landscape Features (1919-1940) establishes a new paradigm for integration of historic preservation as part of the solution to the Army’s most critical military family housing concerns.