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Homes for heroes? Assessing the impact of the UK’s Military Covenant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Robert Dover, John Gearson

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-134
Number of pages20
JournalDefence Studies
Issue number2
Early online date9 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2017

King's Authors


The British Military Covenant can be located in and from many sources and from 2011 onwards in primary legislation. This article argues that the provision of military housing amounts to an early test of how the military covenant is understood and used by those involved in defence policy, and those in the armed forces affected by it. It finds that housing was a prominent feature of how service personnel understood how they were valued, but was not explicitly understood as a covenant issue by those personnel or the officials in charge of the Defence Estates. We locate three reasons for this: (1) the covenant has been poorly translated from aspiration into policy practice, (2) the covenant is unevenly understood across its stakeholders which has the effect of generating disappointment through misaligned expectations, (3) those engaged in the reform process surrounding the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) saw the covenant as a means to energise reform. Ultimately housing was seen as a dry and technocratic business area and thus an issue ripe for being refracted through the covenant was ultimately left outside of its remit.

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