Inside the Wire

Beginning Aug. 1, all newly arriving military families at Kadena AB, Japan, will be required to reside on base under a new policy aimed at saving Uncle Sam a heap of money each year and filling the base’s family housing units, nearly half of which are currently empty. “We cannot afford to continue to pay off-base entitlements when we have homes recently renovated or constructed and available on base,” said Lt. Col. David Wilder, commander of Kadena’s 718th Civil Engineer Squadron, in a Kadena release Tuesday. The unit manages the 8,300 military family housing units on Okinawa, Kadena’s host island. Wilder said increasing the occupancy of the on-base homes and reducing the number of military families that receive overseas housing allowances to live off base will reap savings between $30 million and $50 million annually. The policy will not affect families already stationed on Okinawa, or unmarried military members. Once there is 95 percent on-base occupancy, then incoming families will be given the choice again of living on or off base.