Action Line: Could DOD civilians live on base?
By Col. John T. Quintas, 48th Fighter Wing commander
/ Published February 11, 2011
ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England --
I was driving through the housing area outside of the base footprint; I believe it is called either Lords Walk or Anglo Housing. I noticed many vacant houses. The base spends a lot of money maintaining these empty units because the military have the option of living off base when they arrive.
Some want to live off base because they work on the base and want to be away from it in their off time, others prefer to wait for the new housing. The government pays for the lease even if someone isn't living in the units. There is also the additional cost for allowing people to live on the economy when there is perfectly good accommodation available on base.
What I was wondering is whether DOD civilians can live on base? I know in Germany at Rhein Main AB civilians were allowed to live in housing and pay rent to the government. I am not talking about all civilian such as the teachers (DODEA) but those DOD civilians who worked directly for the base. There is only a small group of DOD civilians in comparison to military personnel and I don't think most of them would want to live on base even if the option were available. I don't think this small group of people would displace or effect the military families in anyway.
I believe this is something that should be consider if civilians aren't allowed to live in base housing, especially with shrinking budgets. I know some of the housing although vacant are spoken for or being worked on but there are way too many vacant units. I would rather pay the government rent then pay a landlord on the economy and you could easily recoup $15K annually just from one civilian family living on base. Having people living in these vacant houses regardless of who they are is a very good deterrent against vandalism.
My reason for living on base is that my wife is scared to drive at night because of a hit and run incident that occurred close to the base. She doesn't drive at night unless she absolutely has to and she works the evening shift on base. My whole family could either walk or ride their bikes to work/school if we lived on base which would definitely reduce the family's environmental footprint. As a recent USAF retiree I have always liked the security aspect of living on base, particularly when I was deployed.
If it isn't possible for DOD civilians to live on base than I definitely think you should look at modifying your policies in light of the annual shrinking budget.
Thank you for your enquiry. I sincerely appreciate your out-of-the-box thinking and efforts to find ways to better utilize our resources.
Unfortunately, our guiding regulation for housing (AFI32-6001, Chapter 5) allows DoD civilians to occupy Military Family Housing (MFH) only under certain circumstances: if members are "Key and Essential" (required to live on base) or if suitable housing, support services, and facilities cannot be found off-base. Since we have plenty of suitable housing, support services, and facilities within the local area, we do not meet the criteria required.
Additionally, our government lease on Lord's Walk housing will be ending soon and all facilities will be handed back to the UK owners. Therefore, there may be an opportunity for you to move into Lords Walk and rent the home from the local landlord. An exact date for the lease turnover is still being negotiated with USAFE at this time.
Thank you again for your concern. We need that type of thinking here in the Liberty Wing.
The Action Line is your direct link to the commander for complaints, suggestions or comments. It's not intended to replace the chain of command. When normal command agency channels haven't been able to resolve your concerns, call 226-2324, e-mail Action.Line@lakenheath.af.mil , send through distribution (48 FW/PA), mail (48FW/PA, Unit 5210 Box 215 APO AE 09461-0215) or hand carry your Action Line to the public affairs office (Building 1063).
You may remain anonymous; however, to receive a reply, please leave your name, unit, duty or home phone number and full APO mailing address. Names are confidential.