Three Options for the FBI’s Long-Awaited New Headquarters Are Still on the Table
The General Services Administration briefed lawmakers on this last week.
The government’s landlord reiterated last week that three options are still in the running for a new consolidated FBI headquarters, an initiative that has been in the works for years.
The fiscal 2022 omnibus funding package required the General Services Administration to choose among three sites previously identified during the Obama administration. GSA officials told lawmakers during a briefing on Friday that those selections (Springfield, Va.; Landover, Md.; and Greenbelt, Md.) are still viable.
“The Biden-Harris administration continues to pursue a consolidated FBI headquarters suburban campus to meet the needs of the FBI workforce for generations to come, while accommodating a strategic presence in the District of Columbia,” a GSA spokesperson told Government Executive on Tuesday. “A more detailed review of the locations occurs at the site selection stage, which GSA will undertake next in an expeditious manner.”
Virginia Democratic Reps. Gerry Connolly, Don Beyer and Jennifer Wexton, and Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, said in a statement after their briefing they are “pleased” that Springfield “is a viable and competitive location for the new FBI headquarters.” They called this an “important milestone” and said they “look forward to continuing to work with the administration to bring an FBI headquarters that best supports the mission of the FBI, to Northern Virginia.”
Maryland Democratic Sens. Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin, and Reps. Steny Hoyer and Anthony Brown, said that “for far too long, the FBI workforce has remained in a building that does not meet their security or operational needs. That’s why we will keep pushing for the new headquarters, and we are confident that the Maryland sites in Greenbelt and Landover are the best locations.”
The lawmakers urged GSA to “work quickly, in accordance with the provisions we secured in the omnibus law enacted in March, to select a final headquarters location this fall.”
Van Hollen, Cardin, Hoyer and Brown said in a statement on March 15, after President Biden enacted the fiscal 2022 funding package: “With the structural integrity of the Hoover Building in disrepair, this project is crucial to ensuring the FBI can carry out its mission. We have informed the Biden administration that we want a site selected for the new headquarters in 180 days because of the urgent need for a site that meets our current national security challenges—a consideration that was neglected by the Trump administration.” One hundred eighty days after March 15 is September 11.
The process to establish a new, consolidated headquarters has been ongoing for years.
In July 2017, the Trump administration scrapped a decade-plus plan to relocate the headquarters and Democratic lawmakers accused them of wanting to keep the bureau in its current location near the Trump International Hotel (which has since closed) to prevent commercial developers from constructing a new property on the site that would compete with the hotel.
An August 2018 investigation by the GSA inspector general on the administration’s proposal to update the building raised questions about the White House’s involvement in the decision. The Justice Department IG announced in July 2019 that it was launching its own investigation about the planning for a new facility. The review is ongoing, according to the IG’s website.
Also, the Government Accountability Office said in a November 2011 report: “According to FBI and GSA assessments, the FBI’s headquarters facilities—the Hoover Building and the headquarters annexes—do not fully support the FBI’s long-term security, space, and building condition requirements.”