Northern Virginia leaders at the local and federal levels pledged Thursday morning that they will bring a united front to the effort to land the new FBI headquarters in Virginia.
Although there are potentially competing locations in several Northern Virginia jurisdictions, including Fairfax County’s preferred site in Springfield, “we are a team,” said Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Sharon Bulova (D-At large).
Both of Virginia’s senators, as well as the four U.S. representatives whose districts cover Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Stafford counties, stated that they are singularly focused on making the case for a Virginia location, regardless of what jurisdiction it falls in.
“We’re all committed to finding a home for the FBI in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” said U.S. Rep. James Moran (D-8th).
The delegation also advocated for an open, transparent process.
“We feel very confident that as long as this decision is made on the merits, Virginia will be successful,” said Sen. Mark Warner (D), a sentiment echoed by the group.
They cited the large number of FBI employees who live in Virginia, the fact that other FBI facilities are already located in the state, and the proximity to the CIA headquarters in Langley.
“The nexus of homeland security, defense-related and law enforcement-related facilities is unparalleled in the nation,” said U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-11th).
Virginia’s biggest competitor for the headquarters is Maryland, where elected officials are touting several different sites to potentially house the 11,000 employees who will work at the consolidated headquarters.
It is still early in the process. The House of Representatives has not yet voted on criteria for the headquarters site. In addition, the proposals for locations must come from a private developer, not a local government.
In early December, the General Services Administration, the federal agency responsible for selecting the building site, issued a Request for Information from developers that would be interested in swapping a new headquarters site for development rights for the downtown property that houses the J. Edgar Hoover Building, the current FBI headquarters.
While Fairfax County’s preferred site, a GSA-owned warehouse property near the Franconia-Springfield Metro Station, meets many of the possible criteria for a new headquarters, it is “not a slam dunk,” Moran said.
The local delegation will have future discussions and unite behind a specific Virginia site later in the process, once the GSA, FBI and Congress provide more clarity on the site requirements