Army housing contract points
to lengthy U.S. stay in Iraq

Monday, September 22, 2003

The U.S. Army has launched a housing program that points to a long term presence in Iraq.

The army has awarded a $200 million project to Kellogg Brown & Root to provide housing and food to 100,000 troops in Iraq. The contract could include the establishment of either tents or wooden buildings for the U.S. forces.

The contract was awarded amid complaints by the families of soldiers as well as representatives in Congress of the condition being endured by U.S. troops in Iraq. They said many troops were living in bombed-out buildings and were afforded little protection from the searing Iraqi summer.

U.S. Army officials said Iraqi contractors are refurbishing buildings used by the military, Middle East Newsline reported. This has included installing windows and air conditioning.

The agreement calls for Kellogg Brown & Root to provide housing for up to 100,000 forces. The company will establish or construct housing at about 20 sites throughout Iraq.

Another goal is to bring air conditioning to tents in western Iraq near the Syrian border. Officials did not say when this would take place.

"It's [the Syrian border] pretty harsh, austere kind of conditions," Sgt. Maj. Kenneth Preston, command sergeant of the Fifth Corps, said. "But again, you know, there's a push there to get air conditioning and improve the quality of life for those soldiers that are out there. I think that as far air conditioning goes, the fact that air conditioners are being manufactured, those air conditioners are being pushed out, put in places, living quarters, so that at night when they're off, during the period between their shifts, they've got the opportunity to get some sleep and rest."

Kellogg Brown & Root is also installing dining facilities in major camps throughout Iraq, officials said. They said that all of the dining facilities would be completed in September.

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