THE MAGAZINE

The Mark Center Makes Its Mark

By Matthew Harwood

One vulnerability is the possibility that a terrorist could simply park on the shoulder of I-395 and trigger a huge blast. “The building is...less than 164 feet off I-395,” POGO’s letter noted.

Responding to that report, Calvery and William E. Brazis, director of the Washington Headquarters Services, issued a security message to tenants assuaging any fears they might have. “We want to convey to every member of the DoD team at the Mark Center Complex that this facility is one of the safest and most structurally-advanced office buildings in the National Capital Region,” the two officials wrote. In the letter, Calvery and Brazis explained that the Mark Center met the DoD’s antiterrorism standards for force protection and standoff distances.

It’s a point Girard reiterates in person. He says that the standoff distance mentioned by POGO doesn’t take into account the south parking garage running along the side of the building facing the interstate highway. This “actually forms a barrier,” he says. “And that’s one of the reasons that it is where it is.”

Girard further notes that large delivery and construction vehicles capable of delivering big blast payloads receive K-9 explosives screening at the remote delivery facility, which sits about 600 feet away from the building. Adding another layer of security, SOC personnel monitor traffic around the campus to ensure that suspicious vehicles do not get too close to the building, notes Girard.

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