Price Tag for Military Facilities' Maintenance Backlog: $19 Billion

Renovating buildings to provide users with the capability to fulfill missions would cost added $34 billion.   July 14, 2023

By Dan Hounsell, Senior Editor

Facilities that rely on taxpayer dollars have struggled for decades to address maintenance and repair adequately. Public schools, colleges and universities have made the biggest headlines, though government office buildings have not been spared the destructive burden of deferred maintenance. 

But in recent years, the spotlight has focused more often on the nation’s military facilities and their efforts to maintain an aging stock of facilities, including those with critical roles in missions. The most recent numbers on deferred maintenance in this segment of the facilities market are staggering. 

The U.S. Army is facing a deferred maintenance backlog of some $19 billion for buildings under its control, says the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Renovating and modernizing those buildings within their current footprint to provide users with the capability to fulfill their missions would cost an additional $34 billion, according to FedWeek

The Army and its reserve components have more than nearly 150,000 buildings in active use, plus some 50,000 that are active or excess. In a sample of 49,000, the CBO found that the average age was 47 years, which is an average of about 10 years longer than the intended useful life. 

The most serious maintenance backlogs were in buildings used for supply, administration, operations and training, maintenance and production and troop housing and food services, said a presentation prepared for an industry conference. 

The CBO’s work follows recent testimony by General Accounting Office before the U.S. Senate saying that U.S. Department of Defense as a whole faces $137 billion in deferred facility maintenance costs and at least $91 billion in future environment liability costs. By prioritizing mission-critical facilities, it added, lower-priority facilities such as housing and childcare centers “are chronically neglected and experience increased deterioration.” 

Dan Hounsell is senior editor of the facilities market. He has more than 30 years of experience writing about facilities maintenance, engineering and management. 


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