Ground broken on $3.4 billion Homeland Security complex

Rendering of future Coast Guard headquarters, with green roof designed to capture and reuse water.CNN – by Mike M. Ahlers

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Washington notables broke ground on the future home of the Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday, symbolically starting construction on the biggest federal building project in the Washington area since the Pentagon 68 years ago.

The project will bring together more than 15,000 employees now scattered in 35 offices in the region, placing them on a 176-acre campus strewn with historic buildings in a long-neglected corner of Washington, five miles from the Capitol building.  

Department leaders hope the $3.4 billion consolidation will help the department fulfill its core mission — protecting the homeland — in ways big and small.

“It will help us hold meetings,” Secretary Janet Napolitano said. “It will help us build that culture of ‘One DHS.'”

At the groundbreaking, political leaders shoveled dirt with care, but pitched historical references and metaphors with abandon.

“I do have a kind of paternalistic feeling towards DHS,” said Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Connecticut, an early advocate for creating the department. “I feel like we’ve finally given a home to this child we’ve created, which is finally reaching maturity.”

Lieberman likened the creation of the department’s headquarters to the creation of the Pentagon. Ground was broken on the Pentagon on September 11, 1941, exactly 60 years before the 2001 terrorist attacks, he noted.

President Franklin Roosevelt planned the defense consolidation, Lieberman said, because he knew war was imminent and felt it could be coordinated more efficiently from one location. The Department of Homeland Security also will benefit by consolidation, Lieberman said.

The site today has the appearance of a sprawling college campus — although one stuck in time. Established by Congress in 1855 as the Government Hospital for the Insane and later renamed St. Elizabeths, the campus has 62 buildings built between the 1850s and 1940.

The federal government plans to preserve 52 of the historic buildings, which are in varying stages of decay. Of the 10 buildings to be destroyed, eight are greenhouses that have major structural damage.

Some $650 million in Department of Homeland Security and General Services Administration federal stimulus money is expediting some of the rehabilitation, the latter agency said.

The project also includes large amounts of new construction. The first building, a 1.8 million-square-foot U.S. Coast Guard headquarters, will cost about $435 million and is scheduled for completion in 2013. The building will include “green roofs” and landscaped courtyards to capture and reuse surface water.

Former Homeland Security Adviser Fran Townsend said the department is right to consolidate its facilities but cautioned it won’t make the huge differences some people claim it will.

“For one thing, what we know is St. Elizabeths is not big enough to hold all of their headquarters components,” she said. And while the department needs to be far enough away from downtown Washington to survive an attack, it “suffers from not having a presence on the National Mall just like all the other major agencies,” she said.

City officials were ebullient Wednesday about the prospect of a blighted area being transformed. The gated campus borders some of Washington’s most violent streets.

“They’re going to try us, and they’re going to like us,” said Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District of Columbia’s delegate to Congress.

Councilman Marion Barry, who has long complained the area is ignored by the federal government, tweaked visitors at the groundbreaking.

“I hope most of you had your GPS’s working,” he said.

21 thoughts on “Ground broken on $3.4 billion Homeland Security complex

  1. Wouldn’t the 3.4 billion be better served sending the illegal immigrants
    back to their roots? I hope they’re building the unaffordable building
    within the ten miles square.

    1. I know. I was thinking that exact same thing. Why not use that 3.4 billion to get rid of the illegals? That would definitely improve the security of our homeland. But nope. That would make too much sense.

      1. Lets hope so — that way it will collapse and nothing will work or last more than 3 months anyway, like ALL the shit from china[wal]mart etc.

  2. THE GOVERNMENT says its broke,YET they seem to be able to build things that cost billions?AND buy things that cost trillions of dollars,humm,ME THINKS THEY ARE LIEING about being broke……………..SO maybe ,the story about oweing china money is a lie too,and there ain’t no national deth……….JUST a BIG dog and pony show……………………………………

  3. And perhaps most of amazing of all – all of it, all $3.4 billion is founded on one of the biggest lies in the history of all humanity – 9/11. And so the most massive psy-op the world has ever seen continues apace…

  4. It’s good that we have all of the enemies of the Republic in one easily identifiable location.

  5. It will be less wear and tear on the bulldozers used for demolition once this nightmare is over and reconstruction of our republic is in full swing. I always try to think positive.

  6. Hmmm….and I thought the “Sequestration” stopped this kind of stuff. I see…It only stops service to the citizens…the Gov can just get Bernanke to print more funny money and send the tax payers the bill for it…nice.

    We are screwed.

  7. Hello dhs monitor scumbags who patrol all the truth sites — listen up: hate you let you fedSCUM down, but you will NEVER finish this project, since we WILL be finishing you.

    Way before the foundation on your new spy central shop is poured, we will have already blown the foundation of corruption that you all laid 150 years ago in this country, to hell and back.

    Are you ready?

  8. Does anyone here believe for a second, that there will not be a full blown revolution to restore America? And that this will not happen within 12 months? And that this F-ing POS usurper and any of the 1,000,000+ other traitors, some of whom may manage to temporarily flee, will not be hunted down, dragged back here, “tried” [yep it’s you – kill ’em], and then slowly executed on the new cable channel called the “Justice Channel”?

    Of course NONE of them will be in power within 18 months, if even anywhere near that long.

    The political life of the kenyan and his felon crowd will last as long as a mosquito flying around a Raid factory.

  9. This quote exposes their sinister designs:
    “It will help us hold meetings,” Secretary Janet Napolitano said. “It will help us build that culture of ‘One DHS.’”

    The “culture” they’re building is a brainwashing process that will encourage violence against the citizenry by turning their “One DHS” into an internal, aggressive army to be used against the people.

    What’s wrong with American culture that would necessitate ingraining a new one into employees of the American people?

  10. DHS was organized and paid for by gullible tax payers and based on fraud –
    911. Here we have real life domestic terrorists who should be rotting in
    a dungeon, namely, Wm Ayers, Bernadette Dorm and Rev. Wright, yet
    they are infesting our politics. What’s wrong with this picture?

  11. ““It will help us hold meetings,” Secretary Janet Napolitano said. “It will help us build that culture of ‘One DHS.’””

    LOL! Oh come on, Janet. Why don’t you just skip the B.S. and say “One World Order”. I mean really. I know you guys aren’t even trying to hide it anymore. Just go with it like you do everything else. What do you have to lose? Just do it. I’m getting bored already. The sooner you do it, the quicker we the people can tie a paper bag around your face, dump you at the bottom of the Potomac and then get this restoration underway. I don’t even care if you can recycle the damn bag or not.

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