Upwards of 1,000 people descended on the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center Monday to get a first glimpse of the government‘s plans to transform the 157-year old St. Elizabeth‘s mental institution into the new Department of Homeland Security headquarters.
Officials hope the vast new complex will infuse the neighboring Congress Heights area with much-needed economic vitality, while finally consolidating DHS‘s 22 member agencies and departments (about 14,000 employees), which are now flung across 48 locations and in some 100 different buildings.
"We‘re scattered to the four winds. We are trying to harness this, trying to make it a single focus," said Donald Bathurst, DHS‘s Chief Administrative Officer. "It‘s a tremendous opportunity for us to have a campus that will help us focus on our mission."
From the Associated Press, on a drug-filled chessboard discovered at the Philadelphia airport:
A calculated move to inspect a heavy chessboard paid off for customs officers at Philadelphia International Airport. Federal officials seized more than two pounds of hashish and more than half an ounce of marijuana hidden inside the wooden game board.
Agency spokesman Steve Sapp says the hash was shipped from Tanzania but he declined to say where it was headed. Officials estimated the drugs' street value at about $30,000.
From Federal Computer Week, on the construction of a new cybersecurity center outside Salt Lake City:
The federal government will spend an estimated $1.5 billion to build a new data center in Utah to support intelligence and defense agencies' cybersecurity programs, according to state and federal officials. The National Security Agency will run the center that Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said would cost $1.5 billion to build and employ 4,000 to 5,000 people statewide.
The facility will be built at the Utah National Guard's Camp Williams, near Salt Lake City. Glenn Gaffney, deputy director of national intelligence for collection, announced the project Oct. 23 in Utah and he was joined by elected officials from the state.
"The new data center we are announcing today will support the intelligence community's mission in providing foreign intelligence about cybersecurity threats," Gaffney said.