The Washington Post

The FBI’S new headquarte­rs should be in Springfiel­d

- BY GLENN YOUNGKIN, TIM KAINE AND MARK R. WARNER 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 twomonth 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 the United States, 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 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.

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