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“Intelligence” is coming to Bethesda

ICC-B2The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) has begun breaking ground on a major overhaul of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (also formerly known as The Defense Mapping Agency) which was located on Sangamore Road, opposite the Sumner Place shopping center.  The new facility will be called the Intelligence Community Campus – Bethesda (ICC-B for short) and will accommodate 3,000 employees and feature a new six story parking garage as well a sleek glass facade that will wrap around the current buildings (two will be demolished) creating one unified modern structure. After months of wrangling with nearby community associations, the DIA has committed to addressing many of the civic group’s concerns regarding the size and scope of the “sabotage-secured” garage and impacts to the heavily forested area surrounding the 39 acre facility and the nearby Potomac River watershed.

ICC-B3

The project should be substantially completed by 2016 and has been redesigned to integrate more organically into the surrounding park setting.  The new plan calls for an integration of metal and glass that will mimic the vertical nature of the surrounding trees and emulate the deeper earth tones of the nearby landscape.

While the exact nature of the work to be performed at the site remains “sensitive” to national security interests, one of the interesting commitments made by the DIA was that the DIA does not “intend” to emit any electromagnetic (or other) signals that will interfere with neighborhood electronic devices.  We live nearby (and I could not survive without my cell phone) so that’s a relief!

Matthew Fontaine Maury "Pathfinder of the Seas"

Matthew Fontaine Maury
“Pathfinder of the Seas”

One small footnote to this post is that one of the buildings at the facility is called Maury Hall, named after the famed oceanographer and United States naval Commander Matthew Fontaine Maury.  Maury was known as the “Pathfinder of the Seas” having made many important contributions to charting winds and ocean currents, as well as publishing the first significant scientific book on Oceanography.  I am indeed related to the storied Commander but I’m not sure he would have approved of my conduct aboard my brother Scott’s sail boat this summer while on an excursion on the Chesapeake.  In rough seas I spent a great deal of the trip leaning over the side of the boat.  Amy of course was enjoying the ride!

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