FORT BELVOIR, Va. -- In a press conference Sept. 22, Congressman Jim Moran announced the extension of a deadline for DoD agencies to vacate leased buildings, which are not in compliance with anti-terrorism standards.

The deadline was Wednesday as set forth by a DoD memorandum in October 2003, outlining new antiterrorism measures for leased buildings housing DoD employees.

Undersecretary of Defense Ashton Carter extended the deadline by issuing a memorandum allowing agencies affected by Base Realignment and Closure relocation to execute lease renewals until September 30, 2011, to accommodate continued occupancy even if the existing leased facility is not in compliance.

The announcement has caused some confusion within the community as to whether or not the BRAC deadline has been extended, as well.

"The purpose of the conference was to announce that certain agencies currently in commercial leased space in the National Capital Region can now extend their leases beyond a previous DoD-imposed deadline of Sept.
30, 2009," Don Carr, Fort Belvoir spokesman said. "Some have taken that action about leases to mean the BRAC deadline for those agencies to move to Fort Belvoir has been extended. That isn't so. Any change to the BRAC law can only be made by law.

"The memorandum does not extend the relocation deadline and has no effect on the relocation requirements," Carr said.

Col. Mark Moffatt, deputy installation commander for transformation and BRAC, said the extension has not changed plans for implementation of BRAC.

"In regards to the Fort Belvoir BRAC program, we continue to move forward with the implementation of the 2005 legislation passed by Congress and signed by the President in 2005," Moffatt said. "We are scheduled to meet the September 2011 deadline."

In the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, DoD issued a Unified Facilities Criteria memorandum outlining new anti-terrorism standards for new and existing leased buildings in the NCR housing military and DoD civilian personnel.

The memorandum stated any DoD leased property must meet specified DoD antiterrorism standards outlined by the document by September 30, 2009.

Any DoD lease extended or renewed after that date must meet these standards, covering standoff distances and blast mitigation requirements, among other measures, or the DoD tenant must relocate to other space that complies with those standards.

Other new criteria included changes to site planning, structural design and architectural design of leased buildings.

For instance, under the new criteria, buildings are required a minimum setback of 82 feet for high-occupancy buildings and potentially additional security measures, such as building reinforcement.

In 2005, two years after the issuing of the DoD memorandum, the Defense BRAC Commission was passed into law.

The new BRAC law stated that agencies being relocated to Fort Belvoir and other installations must be in place by September 2011.

Many of the agencies being relocated by BRAC are currently in leased buildings throughout the NCR. Under the original 2003 memorandum, these agencies would be required to move to a building that meets these requirements and then move again when their new BRAC facilities are completed.

According to Lynne Anderson, a deputy with the BRAC Division of Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management, DoD officials extended the Sept. 30 deadline to avoid the mission disruption and waste of resources that would come with any double move. The extension enables the renewal or extension of leases, even though those spaces might not meet the DoD antiterrorism standards.

In addition to extending the deadline for agencies affected by BRAC, Carter also extended the deadline for organizations not affected by BRAC until September 2014.

"Allowing the term of those lease extensions to run until September 2014 recognizes that some leases with BRAC-affected tenants, also have non-BRAC tenants that do not have to move by September 2011," Carr said. "This allows time for orderly lease termination activities, and also provides affected landlords additional time to decide whether to invest in refitting their buildings to meet the antiterrorism standards."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16