Fort Meade welcomes Defense Adjudication Activities

By Lisa R. RhodesAugust 30, 2011

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Senator Benjamin L. Cardin; Lt. Gen. Richard P. Zahner, deputy chief of staff, Army G-2; Karl Schneider, principal deputy assistant secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs; and Rep. John P. Sarbanes cuts the ribbon, symbolizing the ope... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. - A ribbon cutting ceremony attended by senior military leaders and political leaders marked the official opening of the new Defense/Military Department Adjudication Activities facility on Aug. 17.

The $35.1 million project co-locates 10 federal agencies that process security clearances for Department of Defense personnel and contractors who work with sensitive information.

Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, Rep. John P. Sarbanes, Lt. Gen. Richard P. Zahner, deputy chief of staff, Army G-2, and Karl Schneider, principal deputy assistant secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, participated in the one-hour ceremony held at the Pavilion.

"This is an efficiency issue," Cardin said during his speech. "We can do our job more efficiently, 10 agencies working together in one facility so that they can share information, [and] work together to get the job done as efficiently as possible."

The new facility is one of three structures constructed on Fort Meade as part of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure process. The Defense Information Systems Agency held its grand opening in July and the Defense Media Activity will celebrate its grand opening in October.

Cardin, a member of the Senate Committee on the Budget, said BRAC has resulted in jobs and expansion for the state.

"It will mean for the state of Maryland about 60,000 jobs -- not just military jobs," he said. "These are private-sector jobs that will be located, many, right here at Fort Meade -- about 28,000 new job opportunities at Fort Meade."

The facility was completed under budget and before the BRAC-mandated deadline of Sept. 15, said Barbara Campbell, program manager for the project.

The 151,000-square-foot facility was designed in the Georgian Revival style by HSMM-AECOM, an architectural firm with offices located throughout the Washington-metro area. Skanska U.S.A. Building, Inc., located in Parsippany, N.J., completed the construction on Aug. 15. Soon after, 760 employees from 10 federal agencies moved in.

The facility is a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver qualified building.

The ribbon cutting began with a presentation of the colors by the U.S. Cyber Command and National Security Agency/Central Security Service Joint Service Color Guard, the National Anthem and an invocation by Garrison Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Sid A. Taylor.

Guests included several senior representatives from each of the 10 federal agencies.

Zahner said that of the 102 BRAC-related projects managed by the Army, the adjudication facility was one of the most challenging. The DoD, he said, did not want "10 different doors, 10 separate bathrooms ... and 10 separate IT systems."

Zahner praised Campbell and her team who "successfully pulled together a full range of multiple partners" to co-locate each agency while maintaining its own unique culture.

"The new facility is definitely all I expected and more," said R. B. Peele, director of the Department of the Navy Central Adjudication Facility. "I'm impressed with the results."

Peele said just about all of his agency's 150 employees have relocated to Fort Meade from the Washington Navy Yard.

"It gives them something modern to work together in - one floor, in one space - to share information," he said.

Schneider said the success of the project is a reflection of the recommendations of the BRAC.

"It really goes to show that the 2005 BRAC was different, it was transformational," he said.

Sarbanes called the opening of the facility "a very important milestone" and praised Fort Meade and the federal, state and local parties that made the venture possible.

"Fort Meade has a tradition of reaching out and building very strong partnerships," Sarbanes said. "I think it is a hallmark of this installation."

Related Links:

Fort Meade website