Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) made a rare appearance in Herndon Wednesday evening, where he spoke about international trade and his hopes of attracting two major federal projects to Northern Virginia.
McAuliffe spoke at the headquarters of the Volkswagen Group of America, which moved to Herndon from Detroit in 2008. McAuliffe was there at the invitation of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, whose program for the evening was titled Fairfax County: Where International Companies Do Business in the U.S.
“We now have more than 400 foreign-owned companies from 45 countries in Fairfax County,” said Jerry Gordon, president and CEO of the Fairfax EDA. “These companies have 25-30,000 employees who work and live right here.”
McAuliffe said he was proud to see that Washington Dulles International Airport was “opening up” and attracting more international airlines. “Air China will begin offering direct flights between Washington Dulles International Airport and Beijing beginning June 10,” he said. “That is huge.”
McAuliffe said he also planned to make Virginia the “East Coast Capital” for agricultural and forestry exports. “We did a record $2.5 billion in exports last year and this year I want $3 billion,” he said.
He then pointed out that in addition to promoting international trade, he was also working feverishly to bring two major federal projects to Northern Virginia.
“I am working on bringing the FBI headquarters here,” he said. “We have the best spot for it.”
A site in Springfield offers two different options for the General Services Administration, which is planning the FBI’s new headquarters location. The site, near the Franconia-Springfield Metro Station and close to the interchange of interstates 95, 495 and 395, is now home to warehouses owned by the GSA.
It is also in close proximity to the National Counterterrorism Center and the CIA, which are already located in Northern Virginia
There is also a large, privately owned piece of land adjacent to the warehouse property that could be part of a land swap deal. The GSA has already solicited proposals from private developers that would build the new headquarters building and swap the land for the property where the aging J. Edgar Hoover Building now sits in downtown Washington, D.C.
“I am working like a dog to make it happen,” McAuliffe said.
The governor also made an eye-opening reference to a proposed “White House Cyber-Campus” that he said he would work to bring to Northern Virginia.
Plans for the $35 million campus were first announced by President Obama in March as part of his $3.9 trillion budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2015, which begins Oct. 1.
According to the budget proposal, the 600,000 square-foot campus would house cyber-response teams from various departments within the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice, as well as cyber-response teams from other civilian agencies.
“Cyberthreats are constantly evolving and require a coordinated, comprehensive and resilient plan for protection and response,” according to the 212-page budget document which was issued March 4. “The budget identifies and promotes cross-agency cybersecurity indicatives and priorities, including improving cybersecurity information sharing while protecting privacy, civil liberties and enhancing state and local capacity to respond to cyber-incidents.”
McAuliffe said Northern Virginia would be the perfect location for the proposed campus, and said he would work to make that happen.
“I have a motto, and that is: ‘sleep when you are dead’,” he said. “That is why I get up early and go to bed late. I am competing with 49 governors and more than 200 nations for jobs. Forbes magazine named Virginia the number one state for business in 2013, and I want that to continue.”