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Homeland Security's New $3.9 Billion Headquarters

The construction site of the Department of Homeland Security's new headquarters, Feb. 15, 2012, in Washington, DC
The construction site of the Department of Homeland Security's new headquarters, Feb. 15, 2012, in Washington, DCPhotograph by Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Barack Obama is trying to solve big problems in his proposed 2014 budget. His efforts to curtail entitlement spending have gotten most of the headlines. But he also seems determined to complete the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s new headquarters, the largest federal construction project since the Pentagon rose in the 1940s. The cost: $3.9 billion.

The project would unite at a single location nearly all DHS’s 22 divisions devoted to thwarting terrorists and safeguarding the populace from natural and manmade disasters. The site is the campus of St. Elizabeth Hospital, a former federal asylum that was once the home of poet Ezra Pound and John Hinckley, Ronald Reagan’s would-be assassin. There would be 4.5 million square feet of workspace in the new facility and ample employee parking.