Wednesday, July 12, 2017

GSA Pulls the Plug on New FBI Headquarters

When GSA announced it was ending the decade-long search for a new FBI headquarters I noticed the WaPo's commenters assumed that Donald Trump must have ordered it as some sort of personal retaliation against the FBI. In reality, it was the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the GSA’s Inspector General who drove the decision, and the writing has been on the wall since late May.

It's all explained in a construction journal (here) which, back in December 2016, reported on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's decision to cap the FBI's project funding, as well as impose a maximum size on the new HQ building and set a deadline of two years for GSA to close the deal, among other conditions. Furthermore, the journal linked to the March, 2017, GSA Inspector General's critical report on the planning and funding of so-called exchange projects, in which the Fed swaps property it already owns to compensate private developers for new projects. The new FBI HQ project is such an exchange, and the GSA's IG now takes a dim view of them.

The GSA announced in March that it was delaying site selection for the new building until it received a firm financing commitment from Congress, and no such commitment has come. The decision to cut its losses and cancel the project was pretty much inevitable.

Not that the FBI doesn't need a new headquarters. It does. The current HQ is a complete disaster on aesthetics and architectural merit, security, practicality, space needs, maintenance and repair costs, and all other grounds. Because half the building's space is unusable, FBI offices are scattered around the city in leased properties, which is expensive and makes for a dysfunctional program. They'll build a new place someday, but it will have to be in accordance with the conditions that Congress lays down.


Anonymous said...

TSB: With so much corruption going on at the top for so long I would think working at a satellite office would be preferable. Maybe they should just dedicate the old building to "Kremlin Affairs" ?? gwb

James said...

The top echelon should be rehoused in La Quinta hotels and issued vouchers to eat at Denny's.

TSB said...

Talking of satellite offices and hotels, it is a major irony that the new Trump Hotel (a GSA project to develop the Old Post Office building for commercial reuse) was the same building that housed FBI offices before the Hoover Building was built. Those old government buildings in the federal triangle of DC are of such classic design that they continue to serve for 100, 200, years and longer, and can even be adapted to new uses. The Hoover Building, on the other hand, is expensive junk no longer worth using for any purpose.

Anonymous said...

TSB: Russia’s Deadliest Subs to Receive New Heat-Seeking Torpedos
The Russian Navy expects the new weapon to be operational by 2017. (The Diplomat)
By Franz-Stefan Gady
June 23, 2016
The US Destroyers have external heat diffusers on the sides of the hull so on an anti-ballistic missile mission it may have had the engines turned off knowing it is vulnerable to this new Russian torpedo. gwb