Not Sold on Privatization

Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) does not want the Air Force to turn housing at North Dakota bases that the service has recently “invested more than $500 million to build and renovate” over to a private contractor “free of charge,” according to a June 11 statement from the Senator’s office. Dorgan cites problems that have arisen with some contractors engaged in the Pentagon’s push to privatize military housing. In the case of Minot and Grand Forks Air Force Bases, he asserts: “It is some of the best base housing at any military installation in the world. I don’t see how giving away this housing to a private contractor will save the government money.” The Air Force, for one, is still reeling from trouble with one contractor that affected housing at four USAF bases, although now it appears another contractor with a proven track record may step in. However, Dorgan, who has submitted legislation to stop privatization plans at Minot and Grand Forks, believes the housing slowdown and construction cost increases could lead to more problems. He also cites potential “security and other concerns” among military families when contractors “have moved non-military into base housing that was empty.”