Overseas Housing Allowance (OHA) needs to be refined. As an E-4, I pay $1,600 for an apartment worth around $700 for the local nationals. An O-3 living in the same building I do pays his cap of $2,800 for the exact same apartment. The local national rental agencies charge Americans too much for rent because they know they will get the cap we are allowed to spend... For 6 years overseas, the military could have saved $64,800 just on me ($151,200 for the O-3) if the local national rental agencies charged the military the same rate as they charged the local nationals.
In the United States, military members are given a set amount for rent based on housing costs in local civilian housing markets. OHA needs to have the same approach. Housing costs throughout the overseas civilian markets should be surveyed to create statistically sufficient quantity of cost data to calculate average housing costs by size and type of dwelling. This information can be used, much like in the United States, to create a rent baseline for each pay-grade. Once these numbers are created, the new rates should be communicated to each overseas location with enough time for each community to adjust prices accordingly. Overseas housing agencies will have two options: accept the new OHA rates, or stop renting to Americans. This OHA change should have little impact to overseas housing.
The same program in the United States should apply in overseas locations.