The Defense Department in Their Midst

December 6, 2011

On a recent Friday afternoon, employees trickled out of two new office buildings here; some waited at bus stops, while others retrieved cars from a sprawling above-ground garage. Traffic leaving the office complex and turning onto public streets was light.

The orderly scene belied a controversy — which has reached even the halls of Congress — over the two buildings in the multiuse development known as the Mark Center. They were built as a result of a recommendation by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission that Defense Department workers move out of leased spaces in parts of Northern Virginia by Sept. 15 of this year.

The idea was to consolidate Defense Department offices in Northern Virginia, saving the government money and protecting employees from terrorist attacks like the one that destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995.

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