According to a report made by congressional auditors, the Pentagon’s estimate that it will cost $300 million to house men and women in separate barracks is misleading at best.
The auditors contend that the Army and Navy’s estimates are based on the costs of building barracks for new recruits and assumes that large portions of current barracks will be left vacant. By reorganizing and combining troops, auditors claim that separating men and women into separate barracks will not impose any additional costs. “We can’t see where you would leave 30 buildings basically vacant,” said Bill Solis, who is an assistant director for the General Accounting Office.
The order to move men and women into separate living quarters was made by Defense Secretary William Cohen last June in response to widespread reports of sexual harassment and abuse. The separation order applies only to living quarters. Male and female Army, Navy, and Air Force recruits continue to train together. The Marine Corps, which trains its male and female recruits separately, is the lone exception.