Defense chief asked to postpone planned move to new Virginia building

Less than a month before nearly 6,400 Defense Department employees are scheduled to move to a new high-rise in Alexandria, Va., four Virginia lawmakers are pressing newly installed Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to take up their long-standing cause of delaying the moves to spare the region anticipated gridlock on Interstate 395.

In a July 14 letter to Panetta, Democratic Reps. Jim Moran and Gerald Connolly and Sens. Mark Warner and Jim Webb said a recently reaffirmed plan that originated with the 2005 Base Closure and Realignment Commission "contravenes the department's assurances to work with the Virginia delegation and local governments to ensure that the occupation of the Mark Center does not cause failing levels of service to surrounding roadways and intersections."

The lawmakers have been seeking both a delay in the move and a cap on parking to encourage use of public transit offered near the 1.4 million-square-foot facility, which is not near a Metro stop.

"We are particularly distressed that the DoD intends to use up to 3,800 parking spaces at the Mark Center," the lawmakers continued. "There is no rule, regulation or statute preventing the department from self-imposing a parking limitation to 1,000 until there is sufficient transportation infrastructure. This self-imposed parking limitation would incentivize DoD personnel to rely on the alternate modes of transportation described in the Army's traffic management plan."

The Pentagon's plan, recently reiterated to Congress by Elizabeth King, assistant Defense secretary for legislative affairs, has nearly 5,000 personnel relocating this year beginning Aug. 9 and continuing through December, with a final wave of 1,400 beginning in January 2012.

The Pentagon has directed $20 million to traffic access improvements over the next 18 to 24 months, and the Virginia Transportation Department has allocated $80 million to build a ramp from the interstate to the facility by 2016. Opposition to immediate occupancy of the Mark Center on Alexandria's Seminary Road also has been expressed by Republican Rep. Frank Wolf, who represents Fairfax.

A Pentagon spokeswoman said Panetta will be responding directly via a letter to the lawmakers.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.