The FBI’s new headquarters should be in Springfield
by Gov. Glenn Youngkin, Sen. Mark R. Warner & Sen. Tim Kaine
in the Washington Post
March 17, 2023
Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, is the governor of Virginia. Tim Kaine and Mark R. Warner, both Democrats, represent Virginia in the Senate.
Virginia made its case to federal officials last week for Springfield to be the next home of the FBI. Though we come from different political parties, we are in lockstep on this issue. Politics should play no role when it comes to the security of the American people.
The FBI and the General Services Administration have laid out a specific set of five criteria for determining where the new FBI headquarters should go. We believe strongly that Springfield is the clear winner across the board.
Northern Virginia is home to a majority of the nation’s intelligence workforce and the largest population of cybersecurity companies and personnel on the East Coast — more than double the number in Maryland. During our presentation to the GSA, Adam Lee, a retired 22-year veteran of the FBI, shared his firsthand experience of how the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, forced the bureau to work more closely with its sister intelligence agencies. With increasing collaboration needed to respond to national security threats rapidly, the Springfield site, situated near the Pentagon, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, is the premier site candidate.
Of the sites under consideration, Springfield is also the closest to the FBI’s Quantico location. This is significant because the FBI has said that proximity to this facility’s training academy and laboratory is critical for the bureau to meet its mission. According to the bureau’s own figures, over just a two-month period last summer, FBI personnel made about 1,700 trips to Quantico. This number doesn’t include the personnel who work at Quantico who made reverse trips to the current headquarters downtown or to one of the FBI’s other locations in the area. That’s thousands of person hours spent traveling between locations, making it easy to understand why proximity to Quantico is so important to the FBI.
Springfield also provides more travel choices and public transportation options than any other site under consideration. Though both Springfield and the Greenbelt site in Maryland are less than a 10-minute walk to Metro and commuter trains, the Springfield site provides roughly double the number of bus routes. Maryland has not made major improvements to its Beltway system in decades and just lost its partner in the effort to add express lanes to Interstate 270; Northern Virginia has already rebuilt its interstate network, investing more than $15 billion in these critical arteries.
As the only site under consideration already owned by the federal government, the Springfield site would cost less than the competitor sites in Maryland.
A more recent criterion includes advancing support for underserved communities. We applaud and embrace that objective.
As one of the most diverse communities in America, Northern Virginia has a lot to offer here, too. More than half of Springfield’s households speak a language other than English. Recruiting a diverse workforce helps the FBI better fulfill its national security mission: Officers from diverse backgrounds are uniquely qualified to understand cultural differences and bring diverse viewpoints to the many security challenges facing Americans.
Though Northern Virginia is often painted with a broad brush, tens of thousands of people in the area live below the federal poverty level, and tens of thousands of people still lack health insurance or a high school diploma.
By selecting Springfield, the administration would fulfill its commitment to advance diversity and economic opportunity.
We are confident that any objective evaluation of the transparent criteria laid out by the FBI and the GSA can lead to only one conclusion: The best home for the FBI is in Virginia.Permalink: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/03/16/youngkin-kaine-warner-fbi-headquarters-springfield/