Rayburn House Office Building
Chairman LoBiondo, Ranking Member, and distinguished Members of the Subcommittee. I am honored to appear before you today to discuss the Coast Guard Headquarters’s upcoming move to St. Elizabeths.
Despite potential delays for the future phases of the overall campus development, the facilities that General Services Administration (GSA) are preparing for the Coast Guard will meet our needs and in fact provide a more efficient and functional headquarters than our current spaces. GSA has committed to completing these facilities prior to our move, which is currently scheduled to begin in April 2013.
The St. Elizabeths facility will accommodate our existing Headquarters staffs currently located in the Transpoint and Jemal buildings on Buzzard Point. The Coast Guard’s National Command Center and the National Response Center will also relocate to the St. Elizabeths campus. Other non-headquarters elements such as the Marine Safety Center and Coast Guard activities in other National Capital Region locations are not currently planned to be relocated to St. Elizabeths.
Our new office building will provide several improvements over our current space. The new building will be at least a LEED silver facility. The interior layouts are designed to be very flexible in order to simplify space assignments and to facilitate future staffing and organizational changes. Our staff will have access to team rooms and conference spaces with audio/visual systems and video teleconference capabilities. The building includes a large multi-purpose meeting room that will allow our directors and Assistant Commandants to host all hands meetings with their staffs, a basic management function that we are unable to support at our current headquarters location. This room will also be available for use by offices across DHS, providing in-house space for large conferences and meetings improving efficiency.
While we are excited about moving into this new, more efficient and functional headquarters building, we recognize that we are moving onto a campus under construction, which will create unique challenges for our personnel. We intend to work with the DHS project staff as well as GSA to ensure that despite the ongoing construction, a safe, secure, and functional environment is provided for our employees.
We have also begun working with DHS project staff and GSA’s experienced consultants on our move plans. We currently envision moving our staff in segments over a four to five month period. For each segment of the move, we will provide employees with a comprehensive information package and an onsite ‘move assistance center’ to facilitate the transition to the new work place. The funding requirements for these efforts, along with the move itself, are included in DHS’s fiscal year 2012 budget request.
One of the key concerns expressed by our employees is transportation, due to reduced access to nearby parking as compared to our current location. DHS staff are providing support in the selection and implementation of effective transportation management strategies needed to support our employees.
With a full understanding of the challenges ahead, the Coast Guard remains committed to relocating to St. Elizabeths on schedule. Ultimately, the campus will provide a setting for unified mission execution across DHS.
Thank you for the opportunity to testify today. I look forward to your questions.