Assistant Navy Secretary Retires Amid Military Housing Woes

Lt. Gen. Charles G. Chiarotti, left, deputy commandant, Installations and Logistics, and Phyllis L. Bayer, center, assistant secretary of the Navy for energy, installations and the environment, tour privatized military housing with spouses during a visit to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, on Feb. 15, 2019. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Isaiah Gomez)
Lt. Gen. Charles G. Chiarotti, left, deputy commandant, Installations and Logistics, and Phyllis L. Bayer, center, assistant secretary of the Navy for energy, installations and the environment, tour privatized military housing with spouses during a visit to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, on Feb. 15, 2019. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Isaiah Gomez)

The leader responsible for overseeing all Navy and Marine Corps facilities and construction projects is retiring from her post, Navy officials announced Friday.

Phyllis Bayer, assistant secretary of the Navy for energy, installations and environment, is leaving her position to pursue other opportunities, a Navy press release states. Bayer and other military leaders have faced pressure in recent weeks to clean up problems troops and their families face in military housing.

"The Department of the Navy applauds her service and is grateful for her extraordinary efforts this past year," the service's statement says.

Bayer was appointed to her role in February 2018. Her responsibilities include oversight and policy for Navy and Marine Corps facilities sustainment, restoration and modernization; military construction; and safety and occupational health, according to her official bio.

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She recently testified before members of Congress after a series of Reuters reports cited mold, vermin, poor water quality and other major military-housing problems. Navy and Marine Corps leaders are now auditing troops' homes for problems.

Last month, Bayer told members of the Senate Armed Services committee that the Navy Department had improved its management practices and reporting policies in recent years. Service leaders, she added, remain committed to fixing any housing problems Marines, sailors and their families face.

"We're responsible, and we're going to fix it," she said. "[We] are fully dedicated and committed to ensuring that all Marines and sailors and their families live in safe, secure housing that meet or exceed health and safety standards."

Navy leadership is now evaluating the portfolio for the assistant secretary of the Navy for energy, installations and environment, according to the statement. But the Navy secretary "remains fully committed to the role and responsibilities," it adds.

"The Department has begun an active search for an equally qualified candidate to become the next ASN EI&E," according to the statement.

-- Gina Harkins can be reached at gina.harkins@military.com. Follow her on Twitter @ginaaharkins.

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