H. R. 6286
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
September 29, 2006
Ms. Harris introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Homeland Security
To require the Secretary of Homeland Security to complete and submit a master plan for a headquarters location in the District of Columbia or elsewhere, within 360 days.
This Act may be cited as the
Department of Homeland Security
Stabilization and Security Enhancement Act of
Congress finds the following:
Congress debated an appropriate location to house leadership elements of the Department and ultimately transferred the Nebraska Avenue Complex (NAC) facilities, located in northwest Washington, DC, from the Navy to the jurisdiction, custody, and control of the Administrator of General Services to accommodate the leadership of the new Department under Public Law 108–268.
Congress contemplated that the NAC would be a temporary station for the Department’s leadership due to security concerns.
There is dispute whether Public Law 108–268 was intended to establish an official Department headquarters at all. There is no occurrence of the term headquarters in Public Law 108–268 other than in the long title, which has no legislative effect, and Members of Congress expressed direct opposition to such a notion in floor debates.
The NAC was chosen as the initial leadership station because it included preexisting infrastructure and basic security measures that would allow the new Department’s leadership to become adequately operational in a short period of time.
The security of the NAC remains a serious concern, especially in light of security breaches and lapses.
Some discussions and concrete steps have been taken to move the headquarters of at least one component of the Department, the Coast Guard, to the West Campus of St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. These discussions have contemplated moving other leadership components of the Department to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital at an unknown time in the future.
Hospital was founded by Congress in 1852 and opened in 1855 as the Government
Hospital for the Insane, more commonly referred to as an
As recent as 2002,
according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, St. Elizabeth’s
Hospital was one of the
11 Most Endangered Places and
Hospital has been considered for a headquarters location for components of the
Department because, according to a statement of administration policy, dated
May 25, 2006, the
facility has been identified by the General Services
Administration as the only federally owned secure campus readily available in
Congress has suspended the Coast Guard’s plans to relocate to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital because of the lack of sufficient planning, inadequate coordination with appropriate congressional oversight committees, and an overall haphazard approach.
Under sections 71 and 72 of title 4, United States Code, headquarters of Federal Government agencies and departments are generally required to be located in the District of Columbia absent a statutory exemption.
In the past, Congress has granted waivers from such requirement to agencies and departments that, due to national security concerns, require enhanced security and additional space and, therefore, should consider locating outside the District of Columbia. Such waivers have been granted, for example, to the Department of Defense, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The Department of Homeland Security, like the Department of Defense, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, is a Federal entity with a critical national security mission. The rationale for relocating those entities should be considered in establishing a new headquarters for the Department of Homeland Security.
The Department of Homeland Security remains a young Federal entity and should begin to pull together its disparate parts into a single secure location in order to stabilize the Department to make it more effective.
It is desirable, given its critical mission, to give the Department the space and resources it needs to ensure the safety of its employees, to ensure the security and stability of the Department, to improve integration among its agencies, and to make it more effective for the ultimate purpose of securing the homeland and protecting the American people.
Given the critical national security mission of the Department, it should establish a permanent home, either inside or outside of the District of Columbia, that enables it to more effectively carry out its mission.
The Department’s headquarters should be a new 21st century complex tailored to the specific needs of the Department and should, among other things, be secure in all respects, contain superior physical, technological, and communicative infrastructure, include a working environment conducive to high productivity, be accessible to personnel, capitalize on modern technologies, and provide enough physical space for future expansion.
Authority to determine location for headquarters of the Department of Homeland Security
Title I of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 111 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following:
Headquarters of the Department
The purpose of this section is to strengthen and stabilize the Department and make it more effective by pulling together disparate leadership components into a permanent and more secure location.
The Secretary and the Administrator of General Services, within 360 days after the date of the enactment of this section, shall jointly complete and submit a comprehensive master plan for the establishment of a 21st century permanent headquarters for the Department in the District of Columbia or elsewhere, to the Committee on Environment and Public Works, the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate, and the Committee on Homeland Security and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives.
The master plan shall be designed as a permanent solution to establishing the Department’s headquarters.
The table of contents in section 1(b) of such Act is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 103 the following:
Sec. 104. Headquarters of the Department.