WASHINGTON -- Army Secretary Ryan D. McCarthy, Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper and secretaries from the other military branches today met with senior executives from private housing companies to further improve privatized housing for military service members and their families.

"Our most important obligation as Army leaders is to take care of our people," said McCarthy. "Holding ourselves and the privatized housing companies accountable will provide our Soldiers and their families a higher-quality living standard that they deserve."

Topics included the adoption of a common framework for dispute resolution, increased training for installation commanders, ensuring that commanders are increasingly involved with housing issues, improving housing market data to make BAH rates more accurate and relevant, and implementing a new framework for awarding incentive fees to hold property managers accountable for responding to work orders, better quality work and increased resident satisfaction.

"Incentive-fee awards should reflect the experiences of our Soldiers and their families at the installation level," said Gen. Gus Perna, commander of Army Materiel Command. "The revised criteria will allow me to incorporate residents' concerns and feedback from installation leadership, adding another layer of accountability."

Army senior leaders and the housing company executives also discussed future investments to improve on-post housing. The companies have already committed more than $500 million, and the Army will continue to work with them to bolster long-term investments.

The improved incentive-fee structure and recapitalization initiatives are two of many steps the Army and the private companies have taken this year to improve privatized housing. Others include implementing quarterly town halls at every installation to hear residents' concerns, establishing 24-7 telephone hotlines at every installation, hiring more than 100 additional quality-assurance/quality-control personnel, inspecting 100 percent of homes between occupancy, conducting online housing-satisfaction surveys, and developing phone apps to allow better communication flow with residents on work-order status and completion.