The Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) is a $21 billion tax-free military entitlement program administered by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). BAH is granted to active duty and full-time student veterans of the seven U.S. uniformed services not living in government-provided housing. Eligible service members receive a BAH rate based on the local cost of adequate rental housing for civilians with comparable incomes.
RDN is OSD’s prime contractor for BAH data collection and analysis services. Each year, our research team conducts a market survey in approximately 300 military housing areas (MHAs) across the country to determine the median rent and average utility costs for various housing types, which are correlated to service member pay grades by dependency status. RDN collaborates with local military housing offices (MHOs) in each area to ensure that the sample data reflects the cost of suitable-quality and appropriate housing relative to local norms, such as unit size and amenities. OSD uses these data as the basis for setting the following year’s BAH rates.
RDN’s researchers and analysts are well-versed in the unique characteristics of local housing markets. Each year we contact thousands local property managers/realtors and conduct hundreds of on-site housing assessments around the country to ground truth our findings. At OSD’s direction, RDN economists also perform in-depth ad hoc analyses and reports on special topics such as assessing the housing market impacts of natural disasters and leveraging the latest technologies to improve the BAH data collection and analysis methodologies.
Our managerial and technical approach for the BAH program stresses accountability and collaboration between stakeholders, including installation, regional, and headquarters-level housing representatives from each of the military services. To facilitate this collaboration, RDN developed and maintains an online platform for real-time data sharing, validation, visualization, and analysis. We further support program stakeholders with annual trainings and year-round customer service/technical support.
It is difficult to understate the importance of the BAH program. The Department of Defense commits tens of billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars to the program each year, which directly impact the daily well-being of approximately one million service members and their families. RDN appreciates the importance of this program and is committed to the highest level of excellence in providing accurate and meaningful insights.
“[RDN, Inc.] is exceptionally customer-oriented and responsive to the evolving demands of the contract. The contractor’s key personnel are proactive in addressing customer needs and have worked to develop strategies for improved customer service… The contractor provides relevant insight into potential problems with data collection efforts in a timely manner allowing the swift resolution of such matters resulting in higher accuracy of data collection.”
BAH Program Manager, Department of Defense