By Mr. Paul Boyce (FORSCOM)September 29, 2008
The U.S. Army announced today, Sept. 29, that the Mark Center in Alexandria, Va., will be the future home of the 6,400 personnel associated with the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure, Recommendation # 133.
The decision puts in place the last piece of the Fort Belvoir, Va., BRAC initiative that sites more than 19,000 workers to the installation. The BRAC 133 jobs - a collection of Defense Department-level agencies whose move is being managed by the Washington Headquarters Service - are the last remaining of those being realigned to Fort Belvoir.
"The decision concludes more than a year of work by hundreds of people in the Army, surrounding communities, and all levels of government to develop proposals and options for review by the selection board," said Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations and Environment Keith Eastin.
Following completion of Fort Belvoir's BRAC Environmental Impact Study in Summer 2007, the Army's Record of Decision, or ROD, directed placement of all but the BRAC 133 jobs. The jobs originally would have been placed at Fort Belvoir's Engineer Proving Ground in Springfield, Va.. However, because another 8,500 jobs of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency were also placed there, significant concerns for traffic impacts in the area prompted the Army to agree to limit EPG to the NGA jobs, and to look elsewhere for the BRAC 133 jobs.
In September 2007 evaluators began work to study alternative sites, including the General Services Administration warehouse site in Springfield and commercial sites in the region. BRAC legislation and follow-on language in the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act allow the Army to purchase land in the National Capital Region to facilitate Fort Belvoir's realignment.
"Any non-DOD site selected would have to become part of Fort Belvoir in order to comply with the law," Eastin said. The Army must now buy the Mark Center property to make it part of Fort Belvoir.
In arriving at the Mark Center decision, Eastin said the Army considered multiple factors, including project timelines, transportation management and site adaptability.
"The Mark Center site resolves security issues, improves space requirements and mission relationships, and minimizes changes to existing living, working, and quality of life issues," he said.
"The Mark Center site minimizes to the greatest extent practicable disruption of current commuting needs and mission coordination requirements of the workers," said James Turkel, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who led the evaluation team. "It will also require little to no change in contractor support relationships, as well as changes to residency or schools requirements for the workers."
Eastin echoed the point. "The new commute for the realigned personnel supports their mission by keeping them in close proximity to the Pentagon agencies and senior leaders they support," he said.
Post officials said putting the jobs at the Alexandria City site reduces the number of jobs coming to Fairfax County's part of the post to 12,900 - 4,400 to Fort Belvoir's main post, and 8,500 to Engineer Proving Ground.
The Army must now purchase the Mark Center property to meet BRAC law and plans to make the purchase before the end of the year. Construction is scheduled to begin on the site in January 2009, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
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For more information on BRAC 133 site selection, contact David Foster, Army Public Affairs, at (703) 697-5344. For information on BRAC at Fort Belvoir, contact Don Carr, (703) 805-2583, or Travis Edwards, (703) 805-2019, both of the Installation Public Affairs Office. Information is also available online at www.belvoirnewvision.com.