Navy announces ‘Bill of Rights’ for sailors in barracks in bid to raise morale
Stars and Stripes May 8, 2023
The U.S. Navy will implement a “Bill of Rights & Responsibilities” for sailors living in unaccompanied housing by the end of the month, a move intended to raise morale, the service announced Thursday.
The document outlines a variety of guarantees and expectations that “succinctly” address sailors’ concerns while “setting clear expectations” that sailors are also responsible for their housing conditions, Naval Installations Command said in a news release.
“This Bill of Rights & Responsibilities makes it clear what guarantees we promise [unaccompanied housing] residents while establishing what their obligations are for maintaining their housing,” said Steve Drumm, director of housing for the command, in the release.
The new document was developed after Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday and fleet commanders determined that improving unaccompanied housing would “positively impact sailor morale.” The bill of rights is also “just the first in a series of efforts” the Navy plans to roll out soon, according to the release.
Among the rights guaranteed in the document are promises to provide safe housing that meets environmental and health standards, with working fixtures and utilities, clearly defined housing regulations and the ability to “report inadequate housing standards” without fear of reprisal.
“The Navy is committed to providing high quality accommodations to all sailors, especially those residing in [unaccompanied housing,]” Drumm said in the release.
The document also sums up what the Navy expects of its sailors, including the responsibility to “take pride and ownership” of their residences, maintain “daily living standards,” allow access for inspections or repairs and provide a minimum 30-day notice prior to moving out.
“These barracks are their homes and they are expected to maintain cleanliness and report maintenance issues in a timely manner,” Drumm said, adding that sailors may report housing issues through a new QR code process.
Installation commanders will be required to post the bill of rights throughout unaccompanied housing facilities and within orientation handbooks by May 26.
A spokesperson for Naval Installations Command, headquartered in Washington D.C., did not immediately respond to a request for comment that included clarification of the possible consequences if a sailor’s rights were violated or if their responsibilities were not upheld.