Maryland’s congressional lawmakers are lobbying hard to make Prince Georges’ County the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s next home.
Led by Sen. Ben Cardin, the entire Maryland congressional delegation, including Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, Reps. Steny H. Hoyer, Elijah E. Cummings, Chris Van Hollen, C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, John P. Sarbanes, Donna F. Edwards, John Delaney and Andy Harris—the lone Maryland Republican in Congress– have sent letters to the heads of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and General Services Administration (GSA) urging them to strongly consider a site in Prince George’s County.
“We understand that competition for this facility will be fierce among the region’s jurisdictions, but we firmly believe that an honest analysis of the cost of operations, security, convenience of location for staff, transportation options, and the promotion of regional equity in federal facility distribution should make Maryland the choice location for the FBI,” the lawmakers wrote in their letters.
Noting a report that 43 percent of FBI employees call Maryland home (33 percent live in Virginia and 17 percent in Washington, D.C.), the lawmakers added: “Providing a more convenient work location for a majority of FBI workers will improve employee morale and help them save on daily transportation expenses.”
Pointing to the presence in Maryland of other government agencies, such as the National Security Agency and the Department of Defense’s Cyber Crime Center, and the “unprecedented” growth in cybersecurity work being conducted by government agencies, universities and the private sector, the lawmakers said relocating the FBI to the Free State makes sense.
“As growth continues in this new frontier in national security and crime fighting, locating the FBI in Prince George’s County, Maryland, would be a strategic location for the FBI that promotes collaboration among numerous federal agencies and the FBI on cybersecurity initiatives,” the letter read.
The FBI has occupied the J. Edgar Hoover building on Pennsylvania Avenue since its completion in 1974.
Since that time, and especially since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the bureau’s mission has expanded to include more counterterrorism and anti-cybercrime activities, among other efforts. To ensure that the agency’s infrastructure could support its expanded functions, more specialized personnel was added and spaces reconfigured; an electronic record system was implemented and certain services, such as the crime lab, were moved elsewhere.
Despite all that, “the FBI’s current Headquarters housing is obsolete, inefficient, and expensive,” necessitating the relocation, said Kevin Perkins, associate deputy director of the FBI, in testimony before the House Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management on March 13.