YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea - Garrison officials announced a plan Aug. 26 to open some on-post field- grade housing units to captains and senior warrant officers.

Currently 10 Itaewon Acres government-leased housing units on Yongsan Garrison South Post are vacant. The Army pays about $20,000 annually for each of these quarters regardless of occupancy.

"The reason we did this is because of demographics, and it was a business decision," said U.S. Army Garrison-Yongsan Commander Col. Dave Hall. "This is going to save the Army about a quarter million dollars a year."

The garrison has more than 160 company-grade officers who live off post with their families.

"The majority of those folks want quarters," Hall said. "We only have 58 sets of company-grade quarters. What we may do in the future is make Itaewon Acres a company-grade housing area."

Company-grade family housing at Yongsan is normally at Hannam Village; however, that housing area is currently at 100 percent occupancy.

"What this means is that we have to issue 'statements of nonavailability' so they can reside off post," said USAG-Yongsan Housing Manager Carol Jones.

Jones told attendees of the monthly USAG-Yongsan Community Information Forum at the Community Services Building Aug. 26 that the command decision to move captains and Chief Warrant Officers 3 into vacant Itaewon Acres quarters will take effect immediately.

"It makes good business sense," Jones said. "When you consider we're paying money for vacant quarters at the rate of $20,000 a year and then figure in the cost of a statement of nonavailability at more than $40,000 a year ... it makes sense to keep them occupied."

Jones added the quarters would only go to command sponsored officers in the pay grade O-3 and chief warrant officers 3 and above.

"It is within the realm of regulatory guidance that garrison commanders have the authority to reallocate family housing units from one grade category to another when there is a disparity or shortage in another grade," she said.

A notice went to all Itaewon Acres residents to explain the policy shift, Jones said.

"We included a survey with those notices," Hall said. "We're asking for our residents input. It's a big deal. We have more places for captains to live."