Program Comment for Army Vietnam War Era Housing (1963-1975)

Program Comment for Army Vietnam War Era Historic Housing, Associated Buildings and Structures, and Landscape Features (1963-1975)

The Army is faced with the extraordinary challenge of managing over 31,000 historic housing units, the largest inventory of historic housing in the federal government. Of that total, the Army has over 7,500 units of housing constructed during the 13-year Vietnam War era from 1963-1975. The Army has the responsibility to preserve historic housing in accordance with the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), but that must occur in balance with consideration of the overall well-being of the Soldiers and their families who live in this housing. This presents unique and significant challenges in managing this large inventory of Modern Housing from the Vietnam War era. The scope and magnitude of this challenge requires that we shape our historic preservation compliance actions in innovative ways. The proposed Program Comment for Army Vietnam War Era Historic Housing, Associated Buildings and Structures, and Landscape Features (1963-1975) (Vietnam War era housing) is the best available solution for this category of historic property.

The Army and this nation have an obligation to ensure the quality of life, health and safety for our Soldiers and their families who live in Vietnam War era housing. The management challenges in meeting this obligation include: controlling maintenance, repair, and rehabilitation costs through the use of modern industry standard building materials; addressing the building materials in housing from this period that present lead-based paint, asbestos, and other hazards to housing occupants; addressing the need for additional bedrooms and expanded living space, kitchen and bathroom improvements, modernization of heating and ventilation systems, modernization of plumbing and electrical systems; and the need to rapidly turn around homes for reassigned military families - all while meeting the compliance requirements of the NHPA. The Army also needs the flexibility to manage its overall inventory of Vietnam War era housing including the ability to mothball and, while relatively rare, cease maintenance and demolish housing units that are in a deteriorated condition, underutilized or vacant, generally to make way for the construction of new housing for military families. Additionally, the Army has need to transfer, lease, or convey Vietnam War era housing for the purposes of housing privatization, to allow for management and operation of the housing by our housing privatization partners.

To meet this uniquely Army challenge, the proposed Program Comment will be developed in partnership with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP), and in close consultation with stakeholders. The proposed Program Comment for Vietnam War era housing will continue the successful precedent set by the ACHP-adopted Program Comment for Capehart and Wherry Era Army Historic Housing, Associated Buildings and Structures, and Landscape Features (1949-1962); and the Program Comment for Army Inter-War Era Historic Housing, Associated Buildings and Structures, and Landscape Features (1919-1940). Our partnership with the ACHP has enabled the Army to integrate historic preservation as part of the solution to the Army’s most critical military family housing concerns. This Program Comment is the next step in that long-standing partnership.