The Washington Post

The FBI headquarte­rs belongs in Maryland

- BY WES MOORE The writer, a Democrat, is the governor of Maryland.

The FBI headquarte­rs is falling apart. Years of wear and tear have left the building in shambles. Aging technology and dated infrastruc­ture haven’t kept pace with emerging security threats. Everyone agrees that the FBI needs a new home, and the Biden administra­tion is looking at three potential sites for a new HQ: two in Maryland and one in Virginia.

The answer is clear: Maryland is the best possible home for a new consolidat­ed FBI headquarte­rs. Bringing the FBI to Maryland will keep the bureau strong, advance key priorities of the Biden administra­tion and move Maryland forward. I am calling on the Biden administra­tion to bring the FBI headquarte­rs to Maryland.

First and foremost, building the new FBI headquarte­rs in Maryland would help the bureau meet its vital mission to protect the American people. As home to Fort Meade, U.S. Cyber Command, the National Security Agency and other top-tier institutio­ns such as the University of Maryland, our state has the brainpower and bandwidth to support efforts at the FBI to ramp up the fight against cybercrime and bolster cyberdefen­se. The two Maryland sites under considerat­ion are near key FBI facilities that could support the work happening in a consolidat­ed headquarte­rs.

In addition to our institutio­nal strength, Maryland is one of the most diverse, welleducat­ed and service-driven states in the country. If the FBI provides the headquarte­rs, the people of our state would provide the workforce. And because both Maryland sites sit along key transit corridors, the FBI could broaden its reach and recruit top talent from across the region.

Bringing the FBI to Maryland would also advance a key priority in President Biden’s domestic agenda: racial equity. One of Biden’s first executive orders as president focused on equity, and just last month, the president signed another equity-centered executive order. Now, the administra­tion has a chance to turn the president’s orders into action. Both Maryland sites are in Prince George’s, a majority-black suburban county that has long been overlooked despite sitting just outside our nation’s capital.

Each year, the average household income for a Marylander living in Prince

George’s County is approximat­ely $40,000 less than that of the average Virginian living across the Potomac River in the Fairfax region. Of the largest 150 counties in the United States, Fairfax County ranks No. 2 in economic mobility, and Prince George’s ranks No. 107. Moving the FBI to Maryland would bring jobs and hope to Prince George’s. Biden and I are both committed to lifting Black communitie­s and closing the racial wealth gap, and moving the FBI to our state would help us do exactly that.

This move isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s also the responsibl­e thing to do. The two Maryland sites are build-ready right now; the Virginia site isn’t. That means bringing the FBI to Maryland will save the federal government time and money. The state of Maryland has also committed to contributi­ng more than $200 million to the project, bringing down the overall cost to the federal government. I want the best deal for the American taxpayer, and the two Maryland sites offer the biggest bang for the buck.

Bringing the FBI to Maryland just makes sense — and leaders in our state have been vocal about our strong candidacy since the search process began years ago. The federal agency charged with finding a new home for the FBI recently released search criteria that makes proximity to Quantico, Va., one of the top factors in determinin­g where to build a new headquarte­rs. My friends in Virginia are trying to seize this opening and tilt the scales in their favor. Their argument doesn’t make one bit of sense. In the more than a decade the federal government has been searching for a site to build a new FBI headquarte­rs, proximity to Quantico was just one of many considerat­ions in determinin­g a final location — not a deciding factor.

The Biden administra­tion can choose a path that’s morally right and fiscally responsibl­e and that delivers for our communitie­s. Bringing the FBI to Maryland would advance the bureau’s mission, support key goals of the administra­tion, and make Maryland stronger and safer — all in one fell swoop. I look forward to partnering with leaders at the county, state and federal levels to continue making our case so we can bring this one home for Maryland.

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