DARPA settles in at new ultra-secure headquarters

One of DARPA's creations, the M3 "Cheetah" Robot One of DARPA's creations, the M3 "Cheetah" Robot DARPA

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency on Tuesday marked the opening of its new headquarters complex, a couple of blocks from its previous location in Arlington, Va.

DARPA acting Director Kaigham (Ken) J. Gabriel held a ceremony at the secretive complex that was attended by Arlington County officials and Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va. As noted by the local blog ARLNow, the new 13-story facility that houses more than 1,200 employees is considered one of largest secure conference centers in Northern Virginia. It has earned several Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, distinctions for environmentally efficient building design, construction and operation since ground was broken for the complex in October 2009.

“Arlington has been and will remain home to DARPA,” Moran said in a statement. “From the development of the Internet to unmanned aerial vehicles, DARPA employs some of the best and brightest our nation has to offer. Today, these talented scientists are at the forefront of cybersecurity research, the future of information technology.”

DARPA would have been moved outside Northern Virginia under the recommendations of the 2005 Base Closure and Realignment Commission, but Moran worked with then-Republican Sen. John Warner, Democratic Sen. Mark Warner and Pentagon officials to keep it in Arlington.

County Board Chairwoman Mary Hynes said, “DARPA is the center of the wonderful knowledge economy that’s become part of our identity.”

DARPA’s current director is acting because Regina Dugan, who held the job for three years, left in March to work for Google.

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