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The Building. The People. The Institution​. 1943 - 2018


For 55 years, Americana Hotel has been proud to welcome those working in the defense industry to our clean, comfortable, convenient, friendly, and affordable property just blocks from the Pentagon. As we celebrate our mutual milestones and look forward to many more, we invite you to discover for the first time or anew what makes Americana Hotel the home away from home for so many who serve our country.


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Commemorating the Pentagon’s 75th Anniversary From its 1941 groundbreaking until today, the Pentagon has played an iconic role in Arlington, the nation and the world. We join America’s servicemembers – past, present and future – and all of the civilians who have supported their mission, in celebrating this noteworthy milestone in our community. To learn more about Arlington, home of the Pentagon, visit stayarlington.com.

Did you know this magazine is available online on any device? THE PENTAGON 75 YEARS

The Building. The People. The Institution. 1943 - 2018


The Building. The People. The Institution. 1943 - 2018


Read the publication online in a beautiful, magazine-like reader. While you’re at it, share the publication using social media.

Mission Driven for MISSION READINESS Commemorating over 75 years of defense readiness and support The Department of Defense has relied upon UNICOR to go the distance and meet its stringent requirements for over 75 years. Our focus on the future continues! Outfitting and supplying America’s military since 1941 www.unicor.gov

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Pentagon 75 Celebrating an American Defense Icon


At ICF, we salute the men and women of the armed forces on the Pentagon’s 75th anniversary. Founded by a former Tuskegee Airman and serving the Pentagon for more than three decades, ICF helps DoD push the boundaries of our nation’s cybersecurity capabilities; ensure high-quality, accessible child care for military families; and harness the power of technology to help veterans manage their return home. We are honored to be able to continue this partnership and look forward to supporting the Department of Defense in the protection of our nation.

About ICF ICF (NASDAQ:ICFI) is a global consulting services company with over 5,000 specialized experts, but we are not your typical consultants. At ICF, business analysts and policy specialists work together with digital strategists, data scientists and creatives. We combine unmatched industry expertise with cutting-edge engagement capabilities to help organizations solve their most complex challenges. Since 1969, public and private sector clients have worked with ICF to navigate change and shape the future. Learn more at icf.com.

Protecting what’s most important. Leidos is honored to help celebrate this milestone recognizing the strength, spirit, and unwavering commitment the Pentagon represents. For 75 years, it has stood for the integrity, courage, and bravery that are core to defending freedoms and protecting citizens around the world. We’re proud that over 20 percent of our employees are military veterans, and our defense and intelligence systems and services are helping customers around the world solve some of today’s most complex and dynamic challenges.


“As a young naval officer many years ago, the Pentagon represented strength in our ideals and service to country in defending those ideals. I never imagined then that many years later it would so suddenly and unexpectedly also become sacred ground, symbolizing not only strength and service, but sacrifice. When I look at the Pentagon today, I see this triune symmetry as a fitting tribute to the men and women of our armed forces.” CLEMENT CHEN

Chief Strategy Officer, Leidos Health Group U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 1984 Surface Warfare Officer, 1984-1991

“As a former Airman, I’m overwhelmed with great pride each time I see the Pentagon, the U.S. Air Force Memorial, and other military monuments in the D.C. area. They represent the unparalleled dedication and sacrifice of men and women from all backgrounds, charged with ensuring our nation remains the land of the free.” ERIN TINDELL

Media Relations Specialist, Leidos Corporate 1st Lieutenant, U.S. Air Force, 2004-2007

“Last year, I had the honor of representing Leidos as a veteran and parachute jumper when I took part in the 2017 Marine Corps Marathon’s Patriot Parachute Team. This sunrise jump over Washington, D.C. was not only an enormous and humbling honor, it provided a view of the Pentagon that will be forever emblazoned in my mind. It’s symbolic of the most respected military leaders from past to present, true camaraderie, and American resolve and strength. Happy 75th to the proverbial Eagles Nest — may this milestone echo the continued vigilance and pride of U.S. military members and citizens.” MEGAN J. MARTINE

Project Business Development Specialist, Leidos Civil Group Sgt., U.S. Marine Corps, 1995-2002

“Growing up in the Washington, D.C. area, I was always in awe of the Pentagon. When I joined the U.S. Navy, the decisions made in that historic building took on a new meaning. Flying into town, seeing the vista of downtown D.C. on the port side and the formidable shape and beauty of the Pentagon on the starboard side, I cannot help but feel an immense sense of pride in duty, honor, and country when it comes into view.” MARC SCHRON Systems Engineer,

Leidos Advanced Solutions Group U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 2008 Surface Warfare Officer, 2008-2015 Currently serving as Reservist — Commander, Navy Installations Command in Washington, D.C.

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Honor Guard members placed wreaths on each individual’s bench at the Pentagon Memorial during a 9/11 remembrance ceremony, Sept. 11, 2011.

We salute the Pentagon’s 75th Anniversary

AM General is honored to celebrate this important milestone for the iconic Pentagon, a symbol of our country’s determination for the pursuit of freedom and equality. We are proud to provide innovative vehicle solutions that serve alongside our brave military service men and women. Disclaimer: The Pentagon did not select or approve this advertiser and does not endorse and is not responsible for the views or statements contained in this advertisement.



In peacetime. In war. In service to our nation.




At Bellevue University,

A New Home

we salute the decades of

By Dwight Jon Zimmerman

service and sacrifice from


Pentagon’s doors. That’s

all who pass through the

Secretary Leon Panetta

why for over 50 years, we’ve opened our doors to military

U.S. Secretary of Defense 2011-2013

members and their families with education to carry

By Chuck Oldham

34 42

our country forward. We’re

Building an Icon

proud to be recognized as a top university for military

By Dwight Jon Zimmerman

members year after year. And we’re honored to take


part in educating leaders

Secretary Chuck Hagel

that protect the extraordinary nation we call home.

U.S. Secretary of Defense 2013-2015

By Chuck Oldham


The Pentagon in Peace and War By Craig Collins


A United Force


Rebuilding the Pentagon

By Chuck Oldham

The Pentagon Renovation Project, 1993-2011 By Craig Collins


A non-profit university, Bellevue University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org), a regional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. • Bellevue University does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or disability in the educational programs and activities it operates. Bellevue University, 1000 Galvin Road South, Bellevue, Nebraska 68005.



Honor, Fortitude 94 Strength, The Pentagon’s 9/11 First Responders By Craig Collins

106 The Phoenix Project By J.R. Wilson

116 The Pentagon 9/11 Memorial By J.R. Wilson

Five-sided Neighbor 122 The How the Pentagon Fits into Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. By Jan Tegler

and Found 133 Lost Navigating the Pentagon By Eric Tegler

136 Protecting Those Who Protect the Nation

The Pentagon Force Protection Agency By Eric Tegler

Is the 146 Backward Way Forward Touring the Pentagon By Eric Tegler 11

Clearly, you inspire us. Not just the logo. Not just the name. What the Pentagon represents. What its people stand for. What they fight for. A more secure life for all Americans. We share a similar mission. Security and prosperity for all of our members. And we have an overwhelming sense of pride for our namesake, Pentagon Federal Credit Union. Thank you for 75 years of inspiration.



The Building. The People. The Institution​. 1943 - 2018 Published by Faircount Media Group 4915 W. Cypress St. Tampa, FL 33607 Tel: 813.639.1900 www.defensemedianetwork.com www.faircount.com EDITORIAL Editor in Chief: Chuck Oldham Managing Editor: Ana E. Lopez Senior Editor: Rhonda Carpenter Contributing Writers: Craig Collins, Eric Tegler, Jan Tegler, J.R. Wilson, Dwight Jon Zimmerman

TRANSFORMING ACQUISITION CMG offers rapid, costeffective deployment of technologies to the Warfighter through the use of Other Transaction Agreements (OTA). Congratulations on the 75th Anniversary of the Pentagon.

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© Copyright Faircount LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction of editorial content in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Faircount LLC do not assume responsibility for the advertisements, nor any representation made therein, nor for the quality or deliverability of the products themselves. Reproduction of the articles and photographs, in whole or in part, contained herein is prohibited without written permission of the publisher, with the exception of reprinting for news media use. Permission to use various images and content in this publication was obtained from the U.S. Department of Defense and its agencies, and in no way is used to imply an endorsement by any U.S. Department of Defense entity for any claims or representations therein. None of the advertising herein implies U.S. government, U.S. Department of Defense, endorsement of any private entity or enterprise. This is not a publication of the U.S. Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.



The first building constructed to consolidate all Department of War administrative operations was built in Washington, D.C., with the first phase of construction completed in 1941. Before that milestone was even reached, it had become clear that the Department of War had already outgrown the structure. The Pentagon would be built to accommodate the rapidly growing War Department, and the New War Department Building, as the original structure was called, would be used by the State Department.



A NEW HOME By Dwight Jon Zimmerman

“The matter of office space for the War Department has become one of greatest urgency… There is no question but that the congestion is materially retarding the National Defense program.” – Under Secretary of War Robert Patterson, Nov. 29, 1940, confidential memo


n Thursday, July 17, 1941, the day that New York Yankees centerfielder Joe DiMaggio would go 0-3 against the Cleveland Indians in Cleveland, bringing his record-setting 56-game hitting streak to an end, a group of officers from the U.S. Army’s Quartermaster Corps Construction Division, including Lt. Col. Hugh “Pat” Casey, chief of the Design Section, Operations Branch chief Col. Leslie Groves, Engineering Branch chief Col. Edmund Leavy, and chief consulting architect George Bergstrom, were abruptly summoned to the Washington, D.C. office of Brig. Gen. Brehon Somervell. When they arrived, Somervell delivered his bombshell. Fixing Casey with his famously piercing gaze, he said, “Pat, we’re going to build a new War Department Building, and we’re not going to build it in Washington. It’s going to be built in Virginia.” It would be the largest office building in the world, he said, four stories high, encompassing 4 million square feet of office space – twice that of the 10-year-old Empire State Building – with no elevators, capable of holding 40,000 people and parking for 10,000 cars. It was to be built in Arlington, Virginia, somewhere in the Arlington Farm Experimental Station between Arlington National Cemetery and the south bank of the Potomac River. The officers’ eyes narrowed as they mentally assessed their responsibilities and work involved in such a gigantic project. Then Somervell delivered the kicker: “We want 500,000 square feet ready in six months, and the whole thing ready in a year.” He wrapped up the meeting with orders to


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Participants at the Cairo Conference. (First row, left to right) Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill, and Madame Chiang Kai-shek. (Back row, left to right) Gen. Shang Chen, Lt. Gen. Lin Wei, Maj. Gen. Brehon Somervell, Lt. Gen. Joseph Stilwell, Gen. Henry H. Arnold, Field Marshal John Dill, Adm. Louis Mountbatten, and Maj. Gen. Carton de Wiart (obscured).

have on his desk first thing Monday morning drawings for the general layout, basic design plans, and architectural perspectives to present to Congress. Bergstrom and his staff immediately went to work drawing up plans while Somervell’s boss, Assistant Chief of Staff, G-4, Brig. Gen. Eugene Reybold and Casey led a team to Arlington Farm to find a suitable location in the 67-acre tract. In June 1941, the 500,000-square-foot New War Department Building, as it was officially known, had opened in response to the overdue administrative needs of the rapidly expanding Army. One month later, Secretary of War Henry C. Stimson told President Franklin Roosevelt that the War Department had to go back to Congress and request for funds to build another, bigger office building – now. Shortly after World War II broke out in Europe in September 1939, the president requested, and Congress authorized, an increase in the Army from 270,000 troops to 1.4 million, a number that would be increased many times over. New bases had to be built to handle the influx of new draftees and called-up National

Guardsmen. The Quartermaster Corps, through its Construction Division, was responsible for providing the facilities, and it was in shambles. Somervell’s predecessor had been the latest in a line of officers used to peacetime parsimony to be subsequently overwhelmed by the enormity of an outpouring of funds and having to turn open tracts of land into working military bases overnight, to say nothing of other building needs. The situation had become such a boondoggle that Congress was threatening to turn the program over to civilian control. The War Department needed a name, and Army Chief of Staff Gen. George C. Marshall had one: Lt. Col. Brehon Somervell. A veteran of World War I whose decorations included the Distinguished Service Cross, Somervell had a reputation for taking decisive action and bulldozing his way through bureaucracy in order to quickly get things done – an appropriate and valuable trait given his command. Equally important, he refused to be intimidated by the size and complexity of a project or of powerful people who might stand in his way. Somervell had proved himself when he was made the head of the grossly inefficient Works Progress Administration (WPA) in New York City in 1936, the largest WPA organization in the country. This brought him to the attention of Roosevelt’s confidant Harry Hopkins. Somervell’s crowning achievement during his tenure at the New York WPA was the construction of what would become LaGuardia Airport, a 558-acre, $45 million airport built on land reclaimed from the East




Left: Secretary of War Robert P. Patterson awards Gen. Brehon B. Somervell, commander of Army Service Forces, his third Distinguished Service Medal in October 1945. Above: Secretary of War Robert P. Patterson, Maj. Gen. Percy W. Clarkson, CG X Corps, Brig. Gen. P.H. Tansey, ASCOM C, and Lt. Gen. Charles P. Hall, acting CG, U.S. Eighth Army, return from an inspection tour of Eta Jima, Japan.

road from Arlington Cemetery as the most suitable location. Casey concurred. Because it abutted a road network, the proposed shape was lopsided, with only four of the five sides being symmetrical. Somervell took the plans to Marshall, Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Richard Moore, a Corps of Engineers officer, and Under Secretary for War Robert Patterson, and got their approval that afternoon. The next stop was a meeting the following day with the all-important House Subcommittee on Appropriations under acting chairman Rep. Clifton Woodrum of Virginia to sell the project. The influential Woodrum was a key player in getting the project authorized, and it was no accident that the plan called for the building to be constructed in Virginia. When Somervell and Reybold took their places before Woodrum’s subcommittee, their proposal was all but pre-sold but for the details, for it was Woodrum himself who on that fateful day, July 17, had suggested the project whose designs they now held. Their formal presentation laid bare the War Department’s problem. On July 22, 1941, the War Department in Washington, D.C., and its environs had 24,000 military and civilian employees in 17 buildings. Most of these were scattered throughout the district, with some miles away in Fort Meyer in Arlington, and others in Alexandria, Virginia. Facilities included government offices both permanent, like the recently built New War Department Building, and “temporary,” like the Munitions Building, one of many eyesore “tempos,” as they were called, constructed during World War I that for one reason or another survived calls for their demolition


River that took a little more than two years to build and required a workforce of 23,000. Among the 325,000 people who attended its dedication on Oct. 15, 1939, was Marshall, who had been sworn in as Army chief of staff just a month and a half earlier. In a letter to Somervell, Marshall wrote of the airport, “I was much impressed.” As good as that compliment was, more importantly, Somervell’s success had put his name on the list of officers who Marshall would tap for higher things. That “higher things” moment came for Somervell on Dec. 11, 1940, when he was made commander of the Construction Division, a position his predecessor had held for just nine months. Where others saw the position as a career-killer, he saw it as an opportunity, and he seized it with both hands. He was relentless in his transformation of the division, weeding out incompetents and driving men seven days a week, and regardless of weather. By the spring of 1941, the Construction Division had built 50 major camps and 28 troop reception centers, enough to accommodate a million troops and more to come in both. With the Army housed, Somervell now focused his attention on building a new home for the War Department, the newer, as-yet-unnamed War Department building to be located across the Potomac River on government land in Arlington Farms that would be the largest office building in the world. Bright and early Monday morning, July 21, Somervell had on his desk the preliminary designs. To square, so to speak, the competing requirements of time and size, architect Bergstrom settled on the shape of a pentagon with two rings and a large center court. Connecting the rings were rows of wings, arranged like the teeth of a comb, with light courts between them. The interior of the building consisted of large open bays divided by temporary partitions. Only top officials would have private offices. A basement for paper records storage was 300,000 square feet, and the outdoor parking lots would accommodate 10,000 vehicles. Meanwhile, Somervell’s boss, Reybold, inspected the area and suggested the northern corner of Arlington Farms across the



Above: U.S. Navy & Munitions Buildings, Constitution Avenue between 17th and 21st streets, Washington, D.C. Left: One of few available houses for rent, Washington, D.C. Once World War II began, there was never enough office space or living accomodations. Below left: War worker goes to Washington. Before leaving Cleveland, Ohio, Clara Camille Carroll had heard of the crowded living conditions in the nation’s capital. A friend had written that she could room with her temporarily, so that problem was settled for the moment.

(and would continue to survive into the Nixon administration, with the last one finally falling beneath the wrecking ball in 1970). Though cramped and, lacking air-conditioning, brutally hot in the summer, at least they had been designed for office use. The greater problem lay with the improvised efforts to accommodate the rapid influx of staff in response to the War Department’s burgeoning needs. Because of an overall lack of office space in Washington, it was forced to rent space in privately owned homes, apartment buildings, garages, and warehouses and then pack staff members in them like sardines in a tin. For example, the Office of Inspector General was in an apartment house and the Adjutant General’s office had just a 5-foot by 9-foot rectangle of space for each worker. Then there was the matter of traffic and parking. In Washington, D.C., traffic congestion was endemic and parking space nonexistent, adding to the inefficiency problems. When all the assorted office spaces in and around Washington were combined, it was revealed that the War Department occupied a whopping 2.8 million square feet of space, of which 350,000 square feet went for paper records. Office space shortage was


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Above: As the Pentagon was being designed, the nation was edging toward war, not only selling arms like the Consolidated PBY Catalina to the British, but sending instructor pilots with them. Right: The U.S. Navy destroyer USS Reuben James (DD 245) on the Hudson River, New York, on April 29, 1939. Reuben James served as convoy escort in a neutrality zone greatly expanded in the lead-up to the United States’ entry into World War II. The ship was sunk by a German torpedo near Iceland in October 1941.

estimated at 734,000 square feet – the figure as it stood in July. By Jan. 1, 1942, staffing levels were expected to increase 25 percent, making the shortage even more acute, with storage space for paper records expected to double by then as well. The War Department request for this new office building was $35 million, an unprecedented sum. But Somervell and Reybold emphasized that the cost worked out to about $7 per square foot for 5 million square feet of space, with another million dollars for parking. Instead of a temporary building, they wanted it to be permanent; that unused space following postwar demobilization could be converted to storing paper records, which all recognized would require a huge amount of space. By bringing the estimated 40,000 employees under one roof, they projected an immediate annual savings of $3 million in present civilian building rentals. With the War Department vacating the Munitions Building, they said the Navy could move in and save the $22 million set aside for its new office construction for use elsewhere. Somervell further estimated that the consolidation would increase efficiency anywhere from 25 to 40 percent, with people spending an average of seven minutes walking from one office to another in the new five-sided structure as opposed to the hours lost in existing car travel alone from one end of Washington to the other and back, to say nothing of the specter of chaos when calling for an emergency meeting of leaders from different departments housed in diverse locations in order to deal with a crisis. And “emergency” – which is to say, war anxiety – was the 500-pound gorilla in the room. The cause of the anxiety was

Europe, begun with Hitler’s spectacular conquest of continental western Europe in 1940. Though the island nation of Great Britain gamely held on, no one was placing bets on how long it could hold out. Then in June 1941, Hitler set his sights east, and in Operation Barbarossa his armies attacked the Soviet Union in the largest military invasion in history. By mid-July the Wehrmacht had advanced hundreds of miles into the Soviet Union and captured almost a million troops. Even top military experts were stunned; capitulation of the country was expected at any moment. With Europe’s subordination under Nazi Germany, combined with a diplomatic standoff between Japan and the United States that was rapidly deteriorating, only the most obdurate isolationist believed the nation would be able to stay out of a war that was already greater than that of its predecessor of 1914-1918. By the summer of 1941, the neutral United States was on war footing in all but name. On land, the Army was conducting three large-scale war games incorporating lessons learned from what had recently happened in Europe. They were the Tennessee, Louisiana, and Carolinas maneuvers, with the Louisiana Maneuvers being the largest, employing two full-size armies. Meanwhile, at sea, the United States was the most belligerent neutral nation as could be imagined. On Sept. 5, 1939, in the wake of Nazi Germany’s invasion of Poland, Roosevelt ordered a dramatic expansion of the nation’s neutrality zone that eventually came to include Iceland, though it stretched the terms of the 1930s Neutrality Acts passed by the isolationist Congress and signed by him. Within that zone, U.S. Navy ships and aircraft were authorized to provide convoy escort and engage U-boats attacking convoys. Destroyers found themselves in battle with German submarines, with sailors losing their lives in combat. Also, through its Lend-Lease program, the United States was providing Great Britain with a wide range of war materials, including PBY Catalina patrol and anti-submarine warfare planes. All that was public knowledge.



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Plans for the Pentagon’s construction met with resistance from several directions. Among those opposed were Frederic A. Delano (left), chairman of the National Capital Park and Planning Commission, and Director of the Budget Harold D. Smith (above).

What was top secret was the fact that Roosevelt, knowing it was a violation of those neutrality laws, had also ordered the Navy to send pilots to England to instruct RAF pilots in how to fly American aircraft. He acknowledged that if Congress found out, “I would be impeached.” As it turned out, the risk had a singular reward beyond that of supply and training. On May 26, 1941, as the War Department was settling into its New War Department Building, a Catalina officially piloted by RAF Pilot Officer Dennis Briggs, but actually (and needless to say, secretly) flown by Navy Ensign Leonard B. “Tuck” Smith sitting in the co-pilot position, located the German battleship Bismarck and radioed its location. The Bismarck was soon sunk; and the Navy awarded Smith the Distinguished Flying Cross (he had to keep secret the reason for the decoration until after America’s entry into the war). In short, at any moment the president and War and Navy Departments expected an incident to occur that would plunge the nation into war. With bitter memories of the chaotic inadequacies the country experienced when it declared war in 1917 and then began to arm for war, they all wanted to be as prepared as possible for what they knew was inevitable. During World War I the only real contribution made by America was that of men. Arms, aircraft, artillery, even uniforms, were

either largely or entirely provided by the Allies. Though much remained to be done, this time enough measures had been taken to ensure a repetition of that embarrassment would not happen. With respect to military housing, out of necessity most of the work to date had been focused on attending to the needs of the War Department’s “body”: its armies. Now it had to focus on the housing needs of its administrative “brain.” After Somervell and Reybold had completed their presentation and left, Woodrum delivered his recommendations to the House Appropriations Committee, which then asked Stimson to notify it of Roosevelt’s position on the subject. On July 24, Stimson sent to Roosevelt a memorandum explaining the urgent need for more office space for the War Department staff and of the proposed building. Roosevelt initialed an “O.K.” on it, and the next day Stimson formally notified Woodrum of FDR’s go-ahead. The project immediately became a political football that attracted powerful opponents critical of its enormous cost, skeptical of its location beside Arlington National Cemetery and in Virginia, and of its looks. Reaction was swift. Though not a requirement, the District of Columbia Commission of Fine Arts had nominal approval of government construction in the district, and its chairman, Gilmore Clarke, was no friend of Somervell’s, having crossed swords with him years earlier.




Maj. Gen. Leslie R. Groves. As a colonel, Groves was tasked with overseeing construction of the Pentagon.

In the ensuing months, the location would change and the design would be altered repeatedly (substantially increasing construction cost). And while the initial deadline of 500,000 square feet ready for occupancy was met (barely), the ultimate deadline of completion would be pushed back several months. Nevertheless, Groves accomplished his mission: On Feb. 15, 1943, construction was declared finished, and the War Department had a new home. Three days earlier, Maj. Gen. Alexander D. Surles, chief of the Army’s Bureau of Public Relations, had sent a memorandum to Marshall with a recommendation of a name for the building, one in common use during construction. Marshall and Stimson approved. In a general order issued by Marshall on Feb. 19, 1943, the building was officially named the Pentagon.


He went on record in Senate hearings protesting the decision to put the building in Virginia instead of the District of Columbia and deploring the “introduction of 35 acres of ugly flat roofs into the very foreground of the most majestic view of the National Capitol.” Another influential voice was that of Roosevelt’s uncle, Frederic Delano, chairman of the National Capital Park and Planning Commission. His letter of July 31 to the Senate Appropriations Committee also stated that the proposed building would permanently injure the “dignity and character” of the location and questioned the “practicability of the project as a whole.” More serious than what was obviously an aesthetic turf war was the threat made by Director of the Budget Harold D. Smith, who presented his objections to the president in person on July 30. Their resistance, and that of others, held up passage of the bill for a month, the crucial battleground being in the Senate; where several amendments – calling for placing the building in the District of Columbia and cutting its size in half – had been attached to the building’s budget bill. During that time, Somervell pulled every political string and called in every political chit he could to keep the project on track. One of the most important allies in the bureaucratic battle was Patterson, an early advocate of a building large enough to consolidate War Department offices. Patterson’s intervention proved critical. On Aug. 14, the Senate passed the bill after defeating the amendments and the final appropriations bill passed by Congress did not specify the size or design of the building. Somervell may have won the battle, but he knew there were many more to come, both political and practical. Somervell would continue the struggle on the political front that included taking on the president and getting him to reverse an attempted design backtrack. On the ground-breaking side, that battle would be waged by Groves, the man he tapped to get the job done. Groves had come to the Construction Division from the Corps of Engineers shortly before Somervell’s arrival and was doing his part to turn things around when Somervell got his appointment. A major at the time, he had deftly leveraged his appointment as chief of operations into a promotion to full colonel. Groves was competent, cool, and determined. Upon his move to the Construction Division, construction officers gathered around him throughout the day to such an extent that Groves later calculated that he was making one multimillion-dollar decision for every hundred feet of corridor walked. When Somervell became the division’s new commander, Groves was one of the few holdovers he kept. They had first met in 1932 and formed a friendship that, perhaps because they were so alike in so many ways, cooled into wary respect. On Aug. 19, with congressional approval in place, Somervell assembled the principals who would be working on the new War Department office building project: John McShain, the prime contractor; Bergstrom, the architect; quartermaster construction officer Capt. Clarence Renshaw; and Groves, to give them their latest marching orders. All would have key roles in the building. But of that select group, only one would be in charge and would be credited for having built it: Col. Leslie Groves.


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Monterey native and Santa Clara University School of Law graduate, Secretary Leon Panetta began his long and distinguished public service career in 1964 as a U.S. Army intelligence officer, receiving the Army Commendation Medal. Upon discharge, he went to work in Washington as a legislative assistant to U.S. Senate minority whip Tom Kuchel of California. In 1969, he was appointed director of the U.S. Office for Civil Rights, where he was responsible for ensuring equal opportunity in public education, and later he served as executive assistant to the mayor of New York City. He then returned to Monterey, where he practiced law until his election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1976. Serving his Central Coast district in Congress for 16 years, Panetta became a respected leader on agriculture, federal budget, ocean, and health care issues, and from 1989 to 1993 he chaired the House Budget Committee. He won passage of the Hunger Prevention Act of 1988, Medicare and Medicaid coverage of hospice care for the terminally ill, and numerous measures to protect the California coast, including creation of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. In 1993, Panetta left Congress to serve as director of the Office of Management and Budget for the incoming Clinton administration.


There, he was instrumental in developing the policies that led to a balanced federal budget and eventual budget surpluses. In 1994, he accepted appointment as the president’s chief of staff, and is credited with bringing order and focus to White House operations and policy making. Upon leaving the Clinton administration in 1997, Panetta joined with his wife, Sylvia, to establish and co-direct The Panetta Institute for Public Policy, based at California State University, Monterey Bay. Reflecting the secretary’s ideals and personal example, the nonpartisan, not-for-profit study center seeks to attract thoughtful men and women to lives of public service and prepare them for the policy challenges of the future. Panetta returned to public service at the start of the Barack Obama administration as director of the Central Intelligence Agency, where he supervised the operation to find and bring international terrorist Osama bin Laden to justice. Then, as secretary of defense, he led efforts to develop a new defense strategy, conduct critical counter terrorism operations, strengthen U.S. alliances, and open military service opportunities to Americans regardless of gender or sexual orientation. He chronicled his life in public service in his bestselling memoir Worthy Fights, which was published by Penguin Press in 2014. Panetta is the recipient of hundreds of awards and honors. Recent examples include California Forward’s Forward Thinker Award; the California Teachers Association’s Friends of Education Award; the Judicial Council of California’s Stanley Mosk Defender of Justice Award; The Harry S. Truman Good


By Chuck Oldham

Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta listens as Secretary of Defense Ash Carter speaks at the portrait unveiling of the former secretary of defense at the Pentagon on April 16, 2015.


We Believe...



Neighbor Award; the Sons of Italy Foundation’s National Education & Leadership Award; the Peter Benchley Ocean Award for “Excellence in Policy”; the Intelligence and National Security Alliance’s William Oliver Baker Award; the Italian Community Services’ Distinguished Service Award; The OSS Society’s William J. Donovan Award; and the National Defense Industrial Association’s Dwight D. Eisenhower Award.


The Pentagon: 75 Years: What was your most striking impression of the Pentagon? We know it’s a pretty iconic building for Americans, but what was your impression working inside of it? Secretary Leon Panetta: Well, in 50 years of public life, it’s the biggest damn office building I ever worked in. As we all know, it is the biggest building of its design in the whole world. To walk into that building and just experience the enormity of all of those hallways and all of those offices, it kind of takes your breath away. When foreign dignitaries would come to visit, what was your sense of how it affected them? What seemed to be their impression of the building? Well, the building is recognized around the world, and it is very much a symbol of American military power. So when foreign dignitaries come there, in many ways they are kind of awed by being there because of the power that that building represents. And

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta walks through the hallways of the Pentagon with Army Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha prior to a ceremony at the Pentagon, Feb. 12, 2013. Romesha was presented the Medal of Honor at the White House the previous day by President Barack Obama.

it’s the power of America. I know when we used to meet there, and particularly when we had ceremonies out there in the parade field for foreign dignitaries – I did it for President Xi, I did it for a number of presidents of countries, I know they do things at the White House and then they come there and we do a ceremony there – I can say that every one of the foreign dignitaries where we did that was just very appreciative of having the opportunity to be honored at the Pentagon. I think they really treated that as a very special honor. Were there any particular places in the building from which you drew inspiration or assurance? Were there particular portraits or areas or rooms that affected you more than others? Well, a couple. In my office I had the portraits of Gen. [George S.] Marshall and Gen. [Dwight D.] Eisenhower behind my desk. And I always felt inspired by the presence of two very distinguished generals in the history of our country who where there, and who were there with me as well. I also think that there is a special place now at the Pentagon that honors a place where a plane went




into the Pentagon on 9/11. A chapel was built in the area that was destroyed by that plane. The chapel is a special place where we obviously have nondenominational services of all kinds there. I always found it to be a very comforting place to be able to go and to pray. There is also very near that chapel a spot of the wall of the Pentagon and it’s a burnt spot that’s still there. I remember President [George W.] Bush coming to the Pentagon and joining me in laying flowers at that spot to remember what happened on 9/11. I think that memory will be with me for a long time. Was there anything in your experience about the building that made you think, “They don’t build them like that anymore”? Well, yeah, all you have to do is take the stairway from the main entrance and walk in and walk up what is, I think, a marble



Above: Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, center, exchanges greetings with a U.S. sailor upon his arrival aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) in the Atlantic Ocean, Jan. 21, 2012. Enterprise was underway conducting a composite training unit exercise in preparation for its 22nd and final deployment. Left: Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta poses for a photo with a wounded warrior from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center during a Washington Nationals baseball game in Washington, D.C., July 18, 2012.


In his office at the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta receives an update from Army Gen. Charles H. Jacoby, Jr., commander, Northern Command about the Colorado wildfires threatening Colorado Springs and the U.S. Air Force Academy, June 28, 2012.

stairway – it’s slippery as hell, whatever the hell it is – but it’s a very distinguished stairway that leads up to the secretary’s office. Then if you walk into the secretary’s office, it’s probably – I’ve served in a number of different positions in government, but it’s the biggest office I’ve ever been in. They just simply don’t make them that way anymore. For people who walk into the secretary’s office for the first time, the first thing they comment on is that they’ve never seen an executive office quite as large and as distinguished as the office there. And it has the added treat of overlooking the Washington Monument and the Potomac. That makes it a special view from that office. Most people are always going to be looking at that building from the outside. And they know aspects of it such as the size of it, they know how important it is, and that sort of thing. But is there anything that the general public might not be aware of, something interesting or inspirational about the Pentagon that most people don’t know? Well, you look at the Pentagon and you see a lot of concrete, and a lot of windows, and as I said it gives you the impression of

being all offices and hallways. I think what a lot of people don’t know is that in the middle of that Pentagon there is an open area that is a beautiful kind of garden, where a lot of employees go for their lunches. And in addition, when there are ceremonies, we oftentimes used to have the ceremonies in the middle of that area. It gave you a feeling that despite all the concrete, there is a touch of nature that is still there. Well, shifting gears a little bit, I wanted to ask you, having served as both secretary of defense and director of central intelligence, do you think that’s an indication of how roles and missions of these two entities have sort of overlapped and blurred the nature of the threats the nation faces? It used to seem like there was a harder dividing line there. Yeah, as I said, having served for 50 years in Washington, I think a lot of these roles used to be stovepiped, and everybody kind of did their own thing. If you were at defense, that’s what you did. If you were at intelligence, that’s what you did. Since 9/11, I don’t think there’s any question that these roles have now come together in a real partnership aimed at fighting terrorism. And I saw it from both ends. I mean, as director of the CIA, there was no way I could have accomplished the bin Laden operation without the help of Special Forces being able to come in and use our intelligence, and more importantly then conduct a mission. They caught bin Laden. That kind of partnership I saw played over time and time again



President of the United States Barack Obama walks with Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to a briefing at the Pentagon on Jan. 5, 2012. Obama and Panetta delivered remarks on the Defense Strategic Guidance for the Defense Department going forward. They were joined by Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and the members of the Joint Chiefs and service secretaries.

between our people out in the war zones who really did spend a lot of time working together with their counterparts – you know, CIA and military working together to go after a common enemy. And it is at the heart and soul of the effectiveness of our counterterrorism operations that we built that partnership. What were the things that most worried you or that kept you up at night so to speak when you served as secretary of defense? Well, one of the biggest responsibilities you have as secretary of defense is the responsibility to deploy our young men and women in uniform into harm’s way. The toughest job I had as secretary was having to take the time, usually late at night, to write notes to the families of those who lost loved ones. Every time I did that, I reminded myself of the brave men and women who were out there in the war zones, who were putting their lives on the line to help defend America. I always at night had to worry about the safety of those that were willing to go out into the war zone and fight to protect America. Our fundamental mission is the mission of defending America and keeping it safe, and knowing that there were people out there in harm’s way that are trying to fulfill that mission is something I always thought about.

Can you tell me a little bit about the mission today of the Panetta Institute and what some of your important initiatives are? Our whole mission is to try to inspire young people to lives of public service. I really do believe, based on my own experience in the Army and then ultimately as CIA director and secretary of defense, that it’s extremely important for all young people to understand the importance of duty to nation and giving back to our country. And there’s no question that obviously our military does that, and does it because they really do believe in the mission of protecting our country. I think what we’re trying to do at the Panetta Institute is to try to get all young people to understand that they have a duty to give back to our country in some capacity. So that’s what we’re trying to do, is to see if we can’t help inspire these young people to understand that as citizens in this country, they owe it to America to serve in some capacity. What have I failed to ask you that I should have asked you? Well, I think you touched on most of the things. I think the important thing is … there are a hell of a lot of buildings in Washington. And even in the military, you think about all of the huge weapon systems that we have, from carriers to bombers to tanks, et cetera, et cetera, all of that just isn’t worth a hell of a lot without the people that are there and willing to dedicate their lives to protecting America. I just hope that as people think about the Pentagon and its history that they remember that the real strength of our country lies in the people that work in those offices.



An aerial view of the Pentagon, approximately 10 years after the end of World War II.



BUILDING AN ICON By Dwight Jon Zimmerman

“Three things are to be looked to in a building: that it stand on the right spot; that it be securely founded; that it be successfully executed.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


n Thursday, July 17, 1941, Brig. Gen. Brehon Somervell, the commander of the Construction Division of the Army Quartermaster Corps, told Lt. Col. Hugh “Pat” Casey, chief of the Design Section; Operations Branch chief, Col. Leslie Groves; Engineering Branch chief, Col. Edmund Leavy; and chief consulting architect George Bergstrom that instead of several temporary buildings to house the expanding staff of the War Department, he wanted a permanent one, something he called the “biggest office building in the world.” It would contain 4 million square feet of office space, be no more than four floors high because of steel shortage, hold 40,000 people, have parking space for 10,000 vehicles, have 500,000 square feet of office space ready for occupancy in six months by 10,000 people, and to be entirely finished in 12 months – a job otherwise estimated to take at least four years. And, because no available space in Washington was big enough, Somervell said it would be built across the Potomac River on the site of the old Washington-Hoover Airport. Finally, he wanted the preliminary plans and designs on his desk Monday, July 21. While architect Bergstrom and his team got organized to create the necessary drawings and schematics, Casey went out to eyeball the site. The more he saw in his walkaround, the more troubled he became. The airport was on low-lying riverbed land that regularly flooded and was little better than a swamp. Somervell’s boss, Assistant Chief of Staff Brig. Gen. Eugene Reybold agreed, calling it “hazardous.” After getting Somervell’s okay to look elsewhere, Casey pulled out a map of the area and began searching. What attracted him was a 67-acre, 60-foot-high plateau about a half-mile upriver from the airport at the northern tip of the Arlington Farms Experimental Station just across the Arlington Ridge Road east of Arlington National Cemetery. He liked what he saw. It was above the flood plain, large enough to accommodate the building, had access to utilities, water supply, and road network – everything the largest office building in the world would need. Best of all,

Arlington Farm once again belonged to the War Department. Weeks earlier Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson and Army Chief of Staff Gen. George C. Marshall had requested the land, which years before the War Department had sold to the Agriculture Department. President Roosevelt signed the necessary transfer orders. A down-and-dirty survey confirmed Casey’s assessment. With Reybold also backing the move, Somervell signed off on the new location. Overall, he wanted the project to remain in Virginia. A project of such magnitude was going to need political allies. For him, none were more important than Rep. Clifton Woodrum of Virginia, acting chairman of the Subcommittee on Deficiencies, a subcommittee in the House Committee on Appropriations, and the man who earlier had asked for an “overall solution” to the War Department’s office problem. Bordered on the north, west, and south by roads and on the east-northeast by a branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad and a proposed truck route, the location had an asymmetrical pentagon shape, hardly an aesthetic recommendation. Nonetheless, Bergstrom and his architects and draftsmen went to work. Even before they rolled out their drafting paper, a change order in the design was made – the first of what would be many. Though he still wanted the 4 million square feet of space, Somervell reduced the number of floors from four to three to ensure the profile of the building – in its new location on the northern plateau – would be low enough so as not to obstruct the view between the cemetery and Washington. Despite the fact that the configuration of the land itself suggested a pentagonal design for the building, that shape did not immediately come to the team’s mind. Casey later said they played around with “different set-ups and layouts” before settling on a pentagonal shape. According to Casey, Bergstrom deserved “the greatest credit” for the pentagonal design that emerged, a statement supported by a 1943 Corps of Engineers memorandum stating the design was “the responsibility and the contribution of Mr. Bergstrom.”


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In keeping with the land’s asymmetrical shape, the building’s pentagonal design was irregular, conforming to the three border roads and lopping off a corner of the building’s southeastern corner to complete the five-sided shape. In this first design draft, the building was composed of two rings, outer and inner, in effect making two buildings. Extending inward from the outer ring were 49 barracks-like wings. The inner ring had 34 wings that pointed to the outer ring. Each wing, 50 feet wide and 160 feet long, was separated from the others by a 30-foot-wide open air “light court.” The ground and third floors had corridors that connected the two rings to each other. The building’s gross area totaled 5.1 million square feet with 4 million available for office space. Private offices were only for senior officials and commanders, with everyone else working in gigantic open bays. In giving each person 100 square feet of working space, the building hit its target population of 40,000. On Monday morning, Bergstrom laid on Somervell’s desk the preliminary designs. Bergstrom put the cost estimate at $17.5 million. Somervell, wise to the way of construction costs, immediately doubled it. With plans in hand, Somervell began the involved process of getting approvals, starting with the War Department. The first person he saw was Army Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Richard C. Moore, responsible for armed forces and supply, who approved, calling the plan “very logical.” This was followed by quick approvals from Marshall and Under Secretary of War Robert Patterson. The potential stumbling block was Stimson, who was on record as being leery of approving construction of another, larger, office building so soon after the New War Department Building had been erected. Bergstrom had designed it in the style known as “Stripped Classicism,” a sober synthesis of classical and modern style characteristics. Looking at the sketches, Stimson found himself

The location selected for the Pentagon, on the site of the old WashingtonHoover Airport in Arlington, Virginia. The runways of the airport can still be seen in this photograph, as well as the airfield’s hangars, one of which soon was filled with architects and draftsmen producing thousands of pages of blueprints for the building.

favorably impressed with what he called its “practical and simple lines.” Somervell listed its advantages: bringing everyone under one roof would improve efficiency anywhere from 20 to 40 percent; it would be built in one year, as it was on War Department land; the Army, and not the Public Buildings Administration, would oversee construction. Convinced, Stimson gave his blessing, writing that night in his diary, “Of course it will cost a lot of money but it will solve not only our problem . . . it will solve a lot of other problems.” Stimson’s approval that morning set the stage for the even more important meeting that afternoon on Capitol Hill with Woodrum’s subcommittee. Somervell cannily first went to Woodrum’s office to give him a private, advance look. The impressed Woodrum was particularly happy to hear that the proposed building would free for other departments and agencies 2.1 million square feet of office space presently occupied by the War Department in Washington. When he made his presentation before the committee, Somervell remained unfazed when questions of cost and building durability were thrown at him. Near the end, Woodrum asked, “If you had the money, how soon could you get underway on it?” Somervell replied, “We could get underway on it in two weeks.” The subcommittee voted unanimously to approve the project, sending it for a vote by the full Appropriations Committee, at which point it started attracting enemies. The first serious opponent was Roosevelt’s budget director, Harold Smith, who was suspicious that costs had not been fully




The War Department Office building, better known as the Pentagon, Arlington, Virginia, shown under construction, Jan. 17, 1942. The building was completed in just 17 months.

Chairman Sen. Carter Glass (co-sponsor of the 1933 banking regulation Glass-Steagall Act). Gilmore Clarke, chairman of the politically influential District of Columbia Commission of Fine Arts who had nominal approval rights over federal building design in the district, was an early opponent of the project, and led the attack to discredit the Arlington Farms site on aesthetic grounds, even though the proposed building was now half the original size. Clarke’s imperious, unbending testimony grated on the senators. When it came time for Somervell, he turned on the charm. Afterward, even Clarke agreed that Somervell had delivered a tour de force performance. On Aug. 11, the subcommittee unanimously approved the project and site, and two days later the full committee approved it, with just five dissenters. But the fight was far from over. On Aug. 14, 1941, the afternoon session of the Senate opened with the electrifying news of Roosevelt’s secret meeting with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in Placentia Bay, Newfoundland, and the announcement of the Atlantic Charter, a statement of principles between the United States and Great Britain that bound them in the fight against Nazi tyranny. Against a dramatic backdrop that put the nation further down the path of war, discussion opened on the proposed new War Department office building. The ensuing two-hour debate was described as “a first-class battle.” No stone was left unturned by opponents, with defense equally impassioned. Three times amendments were introduced to scotch the project and three times they were defeated. In the end, Somervell won – not only in getting the Senate to pass the bill, but also in restoring the building to its original size.


examined. But the president brushed aside those concerns and at a July 24 Cabinet meeting gave it his official approval. More serious was the threat posed by Rep. Merlin Hull of Wisconsin, who upon reading HR 5412, the defense supplemental bill, saw a rider attached to it authorizing $35 million for the construction of a War Department Building, a violation of House rules as it had not originated with the Committee of Public Buildings and Grounds. Hell hath no fury greater than that of a point-of-order pedant seeing a procedural bypass (which is what Woodrum was attempting), and on the House floor, Hull successfully managed to put the entire $8 billion defense supplemental bill on hold. Hull and his supporters attempted three times to block the appropriation. Each time they failed, and the House overwhelmingly voted for the $8 billion bill, with only 11 dissenters. Now it was the Senate’s turn. Though keeping a close eye on the political battle, Somervell remained focused on pushing the project forward. He got Philadelphia-based John McShain, Inc., which had constructed a number of federal buildings and monuments including the Jefferson Memorial, approved as the prime contractor without putting it out for bid. For political reasons, two Virginia contractors, Doyle and Russell and Wise Contracting Company, were added with the understanding they would contribute little more than their name to the project. But contractor success was counterbalanced by partial victory from his opponents. Roosevelt’s uncle, Frederic Delano, chairman of the influential National Capital Park and Planning Commission, had joined the chorus of those objecting to the size and location of the building. With his voice added, Roosevelt bowed to pressure and cut the size of the building in half. Momentum for getting the now downsized building moved elsewhere was also growing. The showdown came on Aug. 8, 1941, in a closed-door subcommittee session chaired by Senate Appropriations Committee


A U.S. Geological Survey topographical map of the area around the Pentagon in Virginia, soon after the road network was built.

Though the bill had passed, the president had yet to sign it into law. Upon his return from Canada, the president found himself besieged by a clamoring press, his secretary of the interior, “Uncle Fred” Delano, Clarke, and others beseeching him to stop the project. Of all their arguments, the one that had the most impact was that of aesthetics. All claimed the building was ugly as sin and would desecrate the Washington landscape. It was an argument that hit home. Roosevelt fancied himself an amateur architect with a fine sense of the aesthetic. In 1917, when he was assistant secretary of the navy, he had been responsible for getting constructed on the Mall along Constitution Avenue temporary office buildings for the War and Navy departments, which he deliberately had designed “of such superlative ugliness that their replacement” would have been insisted upon the war’s completion. Yet in 1941, there they still were, a blot on the Washington landscape. Roosevelt could not permit a second architectural affront to the eyes built with his name attached to it. In an Aug. 19 meeting with Smith on the subject of the building’s cost, Roosevelt got so upset he threatened to throw out the entire $8 billion appropriation. Smith advised an alternative. Later that day, as workers began excavation, Roosevelt held a press conference to announce that his “present inclination is not to accept” Congress’ decision regarding the building. Though he couldn’t cancel Congress’ funding, he was going to recommend other sites, and other designs, and was looking forward to his scheduled meeting the next day with Somervell to discuss them.

The news was a thunderbolt, and Somervell went into overdrive. To nix this presidential monkey wrench, he enlisted the aid of the one person who could save the project: Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy, the man regarded as Washington’s preeminent fixer. On Aug. 20, Somervell and McCloy walked into the meeting with the president – and hours later walked out with the blueprints approved with no changes, leaving opponents shocked. In that meeting, when he saw arguments leaving the president unimpressed, McCloy played his extortion card: Ernst “Putzi” Hanfstaengl. A Harvard classmate of Roosevelt’s, the former Hitler crony had fallen out of favor and, fearing for his life, fled to England, where he was imprisoned. Roosevelt, thinking his former classmate might have useful intelligence, arranged to have him brought to America. Hanfstaengl turned out to be a buffoon, and the embarrassed Roosevelt was anxious to quietly unload the ex-Nazi. McCloy promised that if Roosevelt approved, unchanged, the blueprints on his desk, he would discretely shunt Hanfstaengl to a remote Army base and keep him under wraps. The President signed off. The following week, when Roosevelt saw McCloy at a Cabinet meeting, he growled, “You blackmailer!” It was perhaps with the memory of being so rarely outmaneuvered in mind that Roosevelt decided to personally inspect the recommended sites. With Somervell and Clarke in tow, they reviewed the entire area from Arlington Farms to the airport. One of the sites was just north of Hell’s Bottom and west of the airport slated for a quartermaster depot. Looking at it, the president said, “We’re going to locate the War Department building over there.” The War Department went to work acquiring additional land. Of the 583 acres originally needed, the government owned 296. Condemnation proceedings of 150 nearby houses and purchasing of other plots netted the remainder. The two men tapped to be project managers, and thus the individuals responsible for day-to-day operations, were McShain’s J. Paul Hauk and Army Capt. (later Colonel) Clarence Renshaw. To oversee the rapidly growing drafting force, architect Bergstrom tapped his chief assistant, David J. Witmer. Witmer’s force was truly at the tip of the spear on the project, for without designs from them, nothing could be built – supposedly. In addition to designing the building itself, Witmer’s work also “entailed planning the approaches to the building and the parking fields and the road system to give access to the building. It involved a sanitary sewage system and a disposal plant, a heating and refrigeration plant, an electrical power station, the relocation of a railroad, and the redesign of the topography of some 400 acres and the landscaping of this whole area.” Witmer’s force grew so large that it had to be located in the airport’s abandoned 23,000-square-foot Eastern Airlines hangar. The number of major architectural drawings eventually totaled 3,100. Blueprint presses ran 24 hours a day, cranking out an average of 15,000 yards of drawings per week. Even that prodigious output fell behind the voracious needs of fast-track construction. Architect Luther Leisenring ruefully referred to his design group as the



“historical records” section because it was so often behind actual construction. Years later, renovators would discover whole sections of the Pentagon for which no plans existed. Groundbreaking began Sept. 11, 1941, and initially, despite some 4,000 men working around the clock, progress was slow, a rate calculated to be 1 percent a month, meaning it would take eight years to complete it. Everything changed with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7. A sense of urgency seized everyone, and the pace of construction accelerated. Loose soil and the great depth to bedrock necessitated the use of cast-in-place pile footings. Eventually 41,492 piles were sunk. Length ranged from 27 feet to 45 feet with an aggregate total of more than 200 miles. Floors and walls were reinforced concrete slab-and-beam, with floors typically 5 ½ inches thick and capable of bearing 150 pounds per square foot. Story heights varied from 11 feet, 4 ½ inches to 21 feet, 1 ½ inches, with an overall height of 71 feet, 3 ½ inches. The 680,000 tons of sand and gravel for the concrete were dredged from the Potomac River and delivered directly to the onsite batching plant by barge. Its daily capacity of 3,000 cubic yards of concrete was delivered directly into trucks that mixed the batches as they drove to the site. Ultimately, 435,000 cubic yards of concrete were poured. Now containing five rings, the walls were concrete, with the outer wall of the outermost ring covered in Indiana limestone. Thanks to the extensive use of reinforced concrete, about 38,000 tons of steel were saved, more than enough to build a battleship. One area where steel was necessary was in the window sashes. Of all the countless headaches experienced by management during construction, none was greater than the uproar of what material would frame the building’s 9,000 windows. When the first round of bids awarded the contract to steel sash manufacturers, wood sash companies raised such an uproar that a second round of bidding became necessary. Even when that bid was won by steel sash manufacturers, wood sash manufacturers and their congressional advocates continued protests for weeks.

The Pentagon, headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense, taken from an airplane in January 2008.

Problems weren’t confined to materials. This was the era of segregation, and Virginia had on its books Jim Crow separatebut-equal laws. Though they should not have applied to the Pentagon, as it was federal property and subject to Roosevelt’s Executive Order No. 8802 that forbade discrimination, whether deliberately or by accident, separate toilet and dining facilities were incorporated into the design. The result was a doubling of the normal number of toilets and dining rooms. By the spring of 1942, two of the five wedges had been built and, though conditions were hardly ideal, Somervell’s promise to have functioning office space available was achieved on May 1, when 300 Ordnance Department workers moved into Section A. While not the promised 1,000 workers, it was still an impressive achievement. Because the Army had dramatically grown far beyond pre-war projections, in July 1942 a fifth floor was added to the design. This meant that the roof installed on the two finished sections had to be ripped up and replaced. Finally, on Feb. 15, 1943, prime contractor John McShain, Inc., announced that construction of the Pentagon was finished. Instead of 12, it had taken 17 months to build. But during that period dramatic alterations had been made on the fly, with basements expanded, a new floor added, and countless other changes both big and small. It had grown from 5.1 million to 6.24 million gross square feet. Office space had grown from 2.3 million to 3.6 million square feet. Designed in a race against time and planned for efficiency, not beauty, it was originally derided as ugly in its design and construction stage, but over the years that attitude changed. Army historian Maj. William Frierson noted that the building came to possess a “quiet dignity” that was “Hellenic in its simplicity and harmony; modern in its lack of curves, its rigid formality, and its vastness.”






huck Hagel served as the 24th Secretary of Defense from February 2013 to February 2015. During his tenure, he directed significant steps to modernize America’s partnerships and alliances, advance the rebalance in Asia-Pacific, bolster support for European allies, and enhance defense cooperation in the Middle East while overseeing the end of America’s combat mission in Afghanistan. In addition, he led major initiatives for service members and their families, including increasing resources for suicide prevention, combating sexual assault, and accounting for missing personnel. Further, Hagel improved partnerships with the Department of Veterans Affairs, to include health record interoperability, service treatment record transferability, and continuity of mental health services and support. Hagel launched the Defense Innovation Initiative to better prepare the Pentagon for future threats, and enacted comprehensive reforms to the nuclear enterprise and Military Health System. He is the only Vietnam veteran and the first enlisted combat veteran to serve as Secretary of Defense. Hagel served two terms in the U.S. Senate (1997-2009) representing the state of Nebraska. He was a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations; Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; and Intelligence committees. He chaired the Foreign Relations International Economic Policy, Export and Trade Promotion Subcommittee; and the Banking Committee’s International Trade and Finance and Securities subcommittees. Hagel also served as the chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China and the Senate Climate Change Observer Group.


Previously, Hagel was a distinguished professor at Georgetown University, co-chairman of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, chairman of the Atlantic Council, chairman of the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration Advisory Committee, and co-chairman of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund Corporate Council. He served as a member of the Secretary of Defense’s Policy Board, Secretary of Energy’s Blue Ribbon Commission on the Future of Nuclear Power, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) board of directors and Systemic Risk Council; as a senior advisor to Gallup; and on the Advisory Boards of Corsair Capital, Deutsche Bank America, M.I.C. Industries, Bread for the World, Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation, Center for the Study of the Presidency, Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission, George C. Marshall Foundation, Georgetown’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, Global Strategy Forum, Global Zero, Hamilton Project, Initiative for Global Development, Lung Cancer Alliance, International Center for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence, National Bureau of Asian Research’s Next Generation Leadership Board, Ploughshares Fund, U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, U.S. Institute of Peace Middle East Senior Working Group, U.S. Middle East Project, America Abroad Media, American Security Project, and The Washington Center. Prior to his election to the U.S. Senate, Hagel was president of McCarthy & Company, an investment banking firm in Omaha, Nebraska. In the mid-1980s, Hagel co-founded VANGUARD Cellular Systems, Inc., a publicly traded corporation. He was president and CEO of the World USO, Private Sector Council (PSC), and chief operating officer of the 1990 Economic Summit of Industrialized Nations (G-7 Summit). Hagel also served as deputy administrator


Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel conducts a press briefing at the Pentagon, Jan. 22, 2015.

of the Veterans Administration under President Ronald Reagan and deputy commissioner general of the 1982 World’s Fair. He is the author of the book, America: Our Next Chapter and was the subject of a 2006 book by Charlyne Berens entitled, Chuck Hagel: Moving Forward. A graduate of the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Hagel and his wife, Lilibet, have a daughter (Allyn) and son (Ziller). The Pentagon: 75 Years: What was your most striking impression, or most striking first impression, of the Pentagon? Secretary Chuck Hagel: The people. I’ve always believed any institution is only as good as its people. And the quality, commitment of the people that I saw that first day that I was at the

Pentagon was pretty striking. I knew they were first-rate professionals and very good people and committed citizens. But until you really see them in action and see the sacrifices they make and how much they care about the country, you really don’t realize it. So, it was the people. How do you think foreign dignitaries felt as far as when they saw the Pentagon, what their impressions were? I think every one of them was quite taken, especially those who came to the Pentagon for the first time. It’s an iconic, historic, classical building that everyone in the world knows about. And it is such a magnificent structure that represents so much history and power of the United States that I think every leader who comes


to the Pentagon for the first time is really awed by it. I saw it as I entertained many, many heads of state and ministers of defense and foreign ministers and prime ministers, monarchs. And it was always the same reaction.


Were there any particular places for you in the building that you drew inspiration or assurance from? Well, the Pentagon is so large. I mean, it’s a city, truly, in every way. And it is so big I never got to see all of it. I mean, I saw most of it. But I think the areas that were always sacred really were the corridors that reflected the wars that the United States participated in. During my time we were putting together a Vietnam War corridor for the first time. And then after I left, they brought me back to help dedicate it. But each of those corridors – World War I, World War II, I mean you can go right back to the Civil War – represent not only an era in our history but what our country was going through, what our soldiers and sailors and Marines and airmen had to deal with, the challenges, the quality of leadership, the quality of commitment. When you spend any time in those corridors, you really start to understand this country, and it was always for me one of those sacred places in the Pentagon that I always enjoyed going to. I always learned something. It was something new that I saw every time I was in one of those corridors. How do you think your experiences as a soldier informed your service as a senator and especially as secretary of defense? Well, there wasn’t a decision I made as secretary of defense or a vote really I cast on any aspect of national security when I was in the Senate that did not include my reviewing of my experience in Vietnam, first of what our men and women who fought that war had to go through. Was it a wise commitment of our blood and treasure? And you take it all the way through that experience and I think … each of us is shaped by our experiences in life. And you bring those experiences to whatever job or jobs you have, certainly, that experience that I had with my brother side by side in 1968, which was the worst year in Vietnam. We sent 16,000 dead Americans home that year, which is unfathomable today. I mean, America wouldn’t put up with that today. But every one of those experiences I had in those 12 months that I was there through ’68 applied in some way to decisions I made, in thinking through decisions I had to make, certainly as secretary of defense, but in many cases in the Senate as well. And I remember the debates on Iraq that went on and on and some of the debates on Afghanistan. Sure, those were very important experience dimensions for me to call back on as I thought through all of that and we debated these issues, as they need to be in many ways debated in the Congress because the Congress. So, yes, my experience in Vietnam I hope helped me. It certainly informed me, and I hope made me a better senator and a better secretary of defense. Now that we have a totally professional military and there is no draft anymore, do you think in some way we may have lost something through so many people not having that common experience?

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel speaks to troops assigned to the 1/101st Air Assault in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, March 9, 2013. Hagel traveled to Afghanistan on his first trip as the 24th secretary of defense to visit U.S. troops, NATO leaders, and Afghan counterparts.

Well, I think there is a loss in that regard. I have been a strong supporter of an all-volunteer force from the beginning, from when it first was instituted in the early seventies, because the sophistication of our military today and even going back to the seventies and through those decades – it’s so different from the time of when we had the draft. So, I think we need truly professional soldiers and sailors and airmen and Coast Guardsmen and Marines. I don’t think there is any question about that. But have we lost something? I think so. When you look at the reality that we today have less than 1 percent of our population that is in our armed forces, it disconnects from civilians in many ways. It disconnects from everyday Americans that kind of sacrifice and that kind of service. It’s nobody’s fault. It’s an attitude that just starts to dominate – “Well, let someone else do it; it’s too bad they’re in Afghanistan or Iraq or Syria or wherever they are,




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but they wanted to be; they volunteered for it, so that’s not my problem” kind of an attitude. I don’t think Americans mean that to be cavalier. But that’s just the way it is. So, what happens is, like in Iraq and Afghanistan, for the first time in the history of America, we fought two wars and still are there, and in fact in more places with an all-volunteer force. And what that means on the downside for an all-volunteer force is the same people keep going back and back and back. And that takes a huge toll on the individuals, certainly on their families, on the institution, on the culture, on everything. So, there is a trade-off here. There is a downside, I think, to this. But at the same time, I do think the professionalism of our armed forces today is second-tonone. No force structure in the world has ever been as professional nor is any today as good as ours that we have. But it does separate a sense of service and commitment and some sacrifice from the rest of America. What did you consider the most challenging aspect of your job when you were secretary of defense? I was asked more than once after I left the Pentagon after two years as secretary of defense what was it like to run the largest institution in the world. And I would give the same answer.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel coins an airman who attended the Airmen’s Call during his farewell visit at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Jan. 13, 2015. Hagel thanked the troops for their service and highlighted his support for the planned development of a new generation of longrange nuclear-capable bombers.

I would chuckle and say, “Oh, I didn’t run anything.” I was the secretary of defense. I had responsibility for everything within the Department of Defense. But you’ve got to understand that the Department of Defense is a mammoth empire that consists of smaller empires within it. Each of the services is an empire. Your civilian workforce is an empire. Your political leadership is an empire. The media is an empire. The military industrial complex is an empire. The Congress that has oversight over you is a huge dimension of this. The White House, because we report to the commander in chief, is the ultimate empire. So, my point is as secretary of defense you’ve got to be dealing with all of these different factures and factions and assuring that everyone is moving in the right direction. That means you listen to everybody. That means you include everybody. That means you’ve got


PENTAGON75YEARS going on around you and be aware of that. And the last point I would make is always recognize that there will be new developments, new events, new challenges and unknowns coming every 24 hours. So always leave a little time in your capacity, in your capability, because you’ve only got so many hours. You’ve only got so much energy. As you manage that, keep a little margin for what you don’t know is coming but is going to come. And many times, those require emergency kind of focuses. So, I think all those things were the challenges. It wasn’t one thing. It was everything. But I liked the challenge. I thought that was all the good part of the job that I liked. And the last part of that and always the biggest part is working with the other people, the team building – building a really good team and having an opportunity to work with really good people to meet those big challenges. You don’t do it on your own. That’s my whole point – is saying the secretary of defense doesn’t run anything by himself; you do it with your teams, with the service chiefs, and with the chairman of joint chiefs, and you do it with everybody. That is the way you can lead. It’s a leadership position which must include some management. It must include all the other dimensions of leadership. But listening is a primary part of that.

to have absolute transparency – I mean, where you can – in decision-making, but most importantly, everyone has to have a voice at the table before the decision is made. So, it’s a huge management job. Now, I know each secretary of defense comes at it a little differently. I know some delegate all that to their deputy secretary of defense. Well, you can do, I think, a certain amount of that up to a point. But in the end, it’s the secretary of defense who has to sign everything and who is ultimately responsible for everything. So I always found that as one of the most challenging parts of the job, but I liked it. I welcomed it. I just am built that way. I like knowing what’s going on. And I think the big challenge is always for a secretary of defense to know as much of what’s going on as you possibly can, because you’ve got to be informed enough to make some really good decisions and recommendations to the president on policy and other things. And the way I’ve described it is, you have to have real peripheral vision. Yes, you have to stay concentrated and focused on the big issues and what’s ahead of you and what you’ve got coming, but you’ve got to really have an understanding of what’s


How much do you think the security environment has changed since you were secretary of defense versus today? Well, I think you’ve got to realize that the security environment is constantly changing. It literally is changing every 24 hours. Cyber has changed the rules. I mean, cyber has changed everything. And I think today, cyber probably represents the most significant overall threat to the United States in every way [more] than any one thing. Yes, a nuclear exchange is a threat, of course, biochemical weapons, pandemic health, so on – all threats, absolutely, of course. But it’s cyber that can paralyze a nation, paralyze power grids, paralyze computers, paralyze energy sources, paralyze banking services, financial services. You don’t know when it’s coming. Many times you’re not sure


Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel hosts a round table meeting with defense ministers from the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Honolulu, Hawaii, April 2, 2014. Hagel also visited military bases around Honolulu showcasing the aid and support the United States could offer to the ASEAN nations.

Was there anything that kept you up at night while you were serving as secretary? Well, if I took that attitude, I’d never get to sleep. I mean, I knew parts of the world were coming apart. And you also know there is a lot you don’t know. And that’s a big part of the job too – recognizing that you’ll never know enough. You will never know it all. But you try to know enough about enough things so that you don’t really stumble on the big things. So, I tried to find some time to kind of block a lot of the specifics out, so I could think about it in a more free way, and sleep, because you can take that to bed with you or anywhere with you and it will consume you. And you cannot let that job consume you. Like any big job, it can consume you. So, you’ve got to really balance yourself so that you aren’t kept up at night. Now, if you’ve got an emergency or something that is going to keep you up – which we had those, everybody does – yeah, I mean that keeps you up at night, on what are we going to do and how and so on and so on. But you try to balance your capabilities and your time and your energy so that these things don’t keep you up at night.

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PENTAGON75YEARS The building, well yes. The reinforcement and how that was built, and the reasons it was built that way, and all the rest is pretty unique. We just don’t build those kinds of buildings anymore. But it was a one-of-a-kind when it was built.

exactly where it’s coming from, and how you are going to respond to it. Technology always changes everything – when the tank was first produced, and then the first fighter plane was produced, and so on, and so on. So, you’ve got to try to anticipate and stay ahead as much as you can of the unknown, of what you think is coming. And you know new things are coming. Every time you’ve got some dynamic figured out, something comes along that will shift it, will change it. The world is far more competitive, more interconnected today, which has changed everything. We no longer are just protected by two vast oceans on the east and west coast and two pretty secure borders. Historically that’s been the case. We lost that a long, long time ago. So, you’ve got to rely on alliances, intelligent sharing, economics, trade. All of these things become factors now in our security, because all are connected to our security. Whether it is financial security or whether it is stability or whether it is trade, it doesn’t make any difference. Now the world is so much more interconnected and complicated that it affects our security systems and the integration of those systems. So yes, it’s changed. It will continue to change. And it will evolve and then change and change more. Essentially that’s the history of man, and security and stability are bedrocks or foundations for the success of mankind. Going back to the building, I wondered if there is anything that ever made you think, “Boy, they don’t build them like that anymore!”


Is there any particular aspect of the building that the general public might not be aware of, or would find interesting or inspirational? I think there are so many parts of that building that are tremendously interesting and historic and inspirational. I’ve told people many, many times when they come to the Capitol and the Smithsonian and all these marvelous institutions and buildings we have, the Library of Congress, that the Pentagon I rate right up there as really a museum in many ways. It really is. And there are so many parts of it that are inspirational. But for me, to have the privilege in that office to be there and look across that water every day at the Capitol, and know what that building represented and know all the great people who have served this country, and look at the Congress of the United States where I served as well – for me that was about as inspirational as it could get. But the building itself and so many parts of it are very inspirational for people. I wish America could see that, all Americans could see that building and take a couple of hours just to tour – two hours’ worth, at least those corridors of the wars.


U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, left, meets with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad, Dec. 9, 2013.

Secretary Panetta said that was the biggest office he ever had in his public life. Well, it’s mammoth. It’s like a gymnasium. I remember when President [Barack] Obama was over, he needed to use the restrooms. I said, “Well come in and duck in my office and use the restroom.” I guess he’d never been in the secretary of defense’s office. And he came out of there and he said, “Hagel, we’ve got to trade offices here. Your office is bigger than mine. That’s not the way it’s supposed to be.” And he’s laughing and thought it was funny. But, it’s a mammoth office. But the institution itself is tremendous. I think every secretary of defense – you keep a lot of the same pieces of furniture. You know the desk and the credenza behind the secretary’s desk, those are all historic pieces of furniture. And there’s something reassuring about that, I think, as secretary of defense. Speaking of the building, every morning when I would get to the Pentagon, I’d walk up those steps. I’d get to the steps and I’d turn around and I’d look back across the water and down that magnificent mall there in front of the Pentagon where the flags are, and then across the river and you can see the Capitol. I would just marvel at the whole thing. Just the privilege to be there in that job was for me just an incredible experience. I have never lost that feeling. Every morning I would turn around, I would look out my window, often when I was thinking about something or on the phone talking to [President Abdel Fattah] el-Sisi from Egypt or talking to … my counterpart from Russia, the minister of defense, and all the time I’d be talking I’d be standing in that window looking at the Capitol, looking down. I mean, there was just some inspiration you’d draw from that, or at least I did. I think it’s all part of the building, the mystique of the building. It was for me.

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ven today, 75 years later, the numbers are staggering: The massive building, constructed to bring the U.S. Department of War under a single roof in the lead-up to World War II, sprawls over 29 acres, an area larger than the footprint of the Great Pyramid of Cheops, and is still the largest of any office building in the world, capable of containing five U.S. Capitol Buildings. The Pentagon sits atop 41,492 piles driven into the bottomlands of the Potomac River, from which 680,000 tons of sand and gravel were dredged to make concrete for the project. The building’s interior contains 6.5 million square feet, about half of which is used as office space. Its lawns total 200 acres and its 67-acre parking lot can accommodate 8,770 vehicles. The total length of its corridors is more than 17 miles. 23,000 military and civilian employees of the Department of Defense work there, along with about 3,000 support personnel – a population roughly equal to that of New London, Connecticut. Six ZIP codes are assigned to it. It was designed and built with great speed and pragmatism, about 17 months


from conception to dedication – slightly longer than it takes some contractors today to finish a new house. In spite of – or maybe because of – its designers’ prosaic avoidance of embellishment, the Pentagon hasn’t suffered the ignominy directed at other hastily conceived government buildings. To the rest of the world, it’s more than a building: It’s a symbol of immovable might, of the dominance of the U.S. military. “The Pentagon” is today a metonym, a name that stands in for the entire military and all of its service branches. In July 1941, just after Nazi Germany had expanded its aggression beyond Europe and invaded the Soviet Union, the U.S. War Department was a bureaucracy of 24,000 people scattered among 23 buildings in and around Washington, D.C. The War Department was in the midst of an unprecedented peacetime mobilization; the draft bill, approved months earlier, had already increased the ranks of the Army to about a million-and-a-half soldiers, and it was estimated that the number of people needed to administer and support this Army would swell to 30,000 by the end of the year.

The speakers platform of the Pentagon building during the Christmas exercise, Arlington, Virginia, Dec. 24, 1942.



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during his leadership of the Depression-era Works Progress Administration in New York City. Somervell, contending with hot-tempered Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, the city’s 200,000 workers, and the intractable labor unions that represented them, had brought them all to heel and built the $45 million, 558-acre New York Municipal Airport (later renamed LaGuardia Airport) in less than two years. In hindsight, it seems unlikely the Pentagon would have been built without someone as forceful as Somervell leading the charge. He was ambitious and audacious, to an extent that rubbed some people the wrong way, and once he’d made a determination, he did everything he could to avoid debating it. Within six months of taking charge of the Construction Division, Somervell had overseen the building of 229 troop facilities, and within days of achieving that, he’d talked Stimson and President Franklin Roosevelt out of their plan to build more temporary structures for War Department employees. Instead, Somervell said, the department should erect a single building that would bring department personnel under a single roof.

Left: President Harry S Truman with Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower and Gen. Omar Bradley, after the swearing-in of Bradley as chief of staff of the U.S. Army at the Pentagon, Arlington, Virginia, Feb. 7, 1948. Below: Truman, at his desk in the Oval Office, signs H.R. 5632, the National Security Act Amendments of 1949, which converted the National Military Establishment into a new Department of Defense and made other changes in the national security system, as various dignitaries look on.



The government had already approved and begun construction of a new War Department headquarters, at 21st and C Streets in Washington’s Foggy Bottom neighborhood, but the War Department already had outgrown it even before it was completed. It was briefly known as the “War Department Building,” but never became department headquarters. A few years later, the State Department moved in, and today still occupies the 1.4 millionsquare-foot complex now known as the Harry S. Truman Building. Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson knew the man in charge of accommodating the growing Army – building the dozens of camps where new soldiers would be trained and housed, as well as the new administrative spaces – was the right person for the job. The chief of the Army’s Construction Division, then a small bureau within the Quartermaster Corps, was Gen. Brehon B. Somervell. He’d come to Stimson’s attention



A PERMANENT HOME Within days of first mentioning the idea, Somervell had plans sketched out by a designer. In order to accommodate more than 20,000 employees, the building would need to be huge, but it couldn’t be tall. Local building codes, public opinion, and a government warning about possible material shortages – including the steel necessary to frame tall buildings – conspired to keep the new War Department headquarters a low-rise. There wasn’t room for such a building in the capital. Somervell’s team briefly considered the site of the former Washington-Hoover Airport, across the river in Arlington, Virginia, which was being shut down after the June opening of Washington National Airport. But the location, a low-lying swampy floodplain known as Hell’s Bottom, was considered too unstable, so Somervell proposed a site higher up: a 67-acre parcel of Arlington Farm, the former estate of Gen. Robert E. Lee, on a hill directly across the Potomac from the Lincoln Memorial and adjacent to Arlington National Cemetery. A corner of the rectangular plot was cut off by a road, so Somervell’s architect, George Edwin Bergstrom, optimized the available area by designing a roughly shaped pentagon, three stories tall, that would cover most of it. Somervell didn’t think three stories would be enough, but he wanted to avoid public criticism, which came anyway, from every angle: The building was too big. It was too ugly. It ruined the sightlines from Arlington Cemetery to the capital. It was a huge, expensive solution to the temporary problem of accommodating a military buildup. So many different objections arose that a unified opposition never materialized, and Congress approved construction of the building in August. Roosevelt and other administration officials were certain such a huge building would have to be converted to another purpose after the war – most likely the storage of records. Somervell obliged, incorporating floors designed to support filing cabinets, loads of up to 150 pounds per square foot. The plan’s critics wouldn’t be silenced, however, and Roosevelt ordered Somervell back down to Hell’s Bottom, a parcel including


the old airport and a seedy assortment of taverns, tarpaper shacks, industrial warehouses, and pawn shops. Reluctantly, Somervell’s crew began preparing the site, though it meant elevating the building’s eastern grade by 18 feet, borrowing fill that had been trucked in to raise the airport above flood stage. The bigger Hell’s Bottom parcel didn’t require a pentagonal building, but there wasn’t time for substantial revision, and Somervell and Bergstrom were beginning to see the wisdom and efficiency of the shape, which would minimize the time required to walk from one side to another. The design was tweaked to make the pentagon symmetrical. The building would have to sit on tens of thousands of piles, made of concrete rather than steel, driven into the bottomland soil. It would consist of five concentric “rings” of offices, connected by transverse corridors. To save steel and avoid the expense of elevators, wide concrete ramps would allow people to move up and down between levels. Today it’s difficult to grasp how quickly all of this happened. Somervell’s crews worked while legislators, accustomed to a more deliberate pace, continued to debate the idea and offer suggestions and revisions. In his book The Pentagon: A History, author Steve Vogel describes the wrecking of the Hell’s Bottom slums as happening so quickly, few people were aware of it; as the buildings fell, dumbfounded patrons arrived on buses from the capital, clutching pawn tickets they hoped to redeem at shops that no longer existed. The Pentagon was literally built faster than it could be designed. As Vogel’s books relates, the drafting team assembled by lead designer Ides van der Gracht was put to work in the basement of a Fort Myer warehouse, a former horse stable, so stuffy and hot that draftsmen sat shirtless at their work tables, covering their drawings with blotting paper to avoid ruining them with their sweat. Eventually a design force numbering about 350 was moved to a former airplane hangar on the old airport grounds. Though the blueprint machines in the hangar produced an average of 15,000 yards of print paper a day, it wasn’t fast enough to


Above: The Pentagon, 1950. Right: On the same day that Gen. Lyman Lemnitzer (U.S. Army) was sworn in as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he also met the three previous holders of the position: Gen. Omar Bradley, Gen. Nathan Twining (USAF), and Adm. Arthur Radford.


keep up with the demands of site supervisors. Some simply based their work on what had already been built and hoped for the best. Decades later, when designers for the massive Pentagon Renovation Project looked for original drawings and materials specifications to use as references, they discovered that for many parts of the building, there weren’t any. Somervell, to minimize his interactions with Congress and the public, remained cagey about what was actually going on in Hell’s Bottom, but in October 1941, after crews had made substantial progress, he released some details to the press. Projections of the War Department’s size had already increased, but Somervell had promised a three-story building, so the plan he revealed in October was described as a three-story building with a “basement” that observers couldn’t help noticing was above ground. By July 1942, months after the Pearl Harbor attack and America’s entry into the war, the Pentagon was about two-thirds complete – but every square inch of it had already been assigned, and more room was needed to accommodate War Department employees. Somervell’s team, without consulting Congress, added a fifth floor to squeeze in another 300,000 square feet of office space. By now

The Joint Chiefs of Staff pose for a photograph while standing around a large globe. Pictured are CMC Randolph McPate, CNO Arleigh Burke, CJCS Nathan Twining, CSA Maxwell Taylor, and CSAF Thomas White.

the project was already $14 million over its estimated cost, and budget hawks were outraged when the War Department released a new plan including a “fourth floor intermediate.” Today’s Pentagon is a five-story building with a mezzanine and basement. At its peak in the spring of 1942, the Pentagon construction project employed about 15,000 workers. Somervell’s team had dredged its own lagoon in a Potomac channel to build its own concrete batching plant next to the site. Vogel’s book describes barges delivering sand, gravel, and cement 24 hours a day at the plant, which used around 115,000 gallons of water daily to produce as much as 3,500 cubic yards of concrete. Over a 17-week period beginning in September 1942, utility workers installed more than 68,000 miles of telephone cabling throughout the building to connect 27,000 telephones. Such was the urgency of the war effort that there was no dedication ceremony when the building was finally completed in January


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1943; the first War Department employees, in fact, had moved in to the partially completed building – contending with drafts, dust, mud, and field mice – the preceding May. In February, the Army’s chief of public relations sent a memorandum to the office of Gen. George C. Marshall, Army Chief of Staff, in which he described the building as the “permanent home of the War Department,” and recommended the building officially be designated by the name it had been called informally, almost since its inception: The Pentagon. Marshall signed the general order to do this on Feb. 19, 1943. The memo was the first time the Pentagon had been mentioned in official correspondence as a “permanent” home for the War Department; many, including Roosevelt, still considered it temporary. As late as January 1945, a month before he traveled to Yalta for his final conference with Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin, the president sent a memo to his budget director telling him he thought all the armed forces’ personnel records ought to be moved into the building after the war. The War Department,

Secretary of Defense Thomas Gates poses with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, including CJCS Nathan Twining, CSA Lyman Lemnitzer, CNO Arleigh Burke, and CMC Randolph McPate.

Roosevelt thought, could return to an expanded headquarters in Foggy Bottom. Roosevelt, who died four months later, wouldn’t see what was to become of the Pentagon. As much as the world had changed while he was in office, it seems unlikely he could have imagined the changes yet to come: In just over two years, there would be no U.S. War Department, and the nation and its allies would be locked in a mortal struggle against an adversary determined to dominate the globe.

A COMMAND CENTER World War II promptly morphed into the Cold War as the alliance with the Soviet Union quickly disintegrated into a rivalry



American Volunteer Group (AVG) pilots, better known as the Flying Tigers, run for their P-40B Tomahawks in a posed photo. The vastly outnumbered AVG had only 79 qualified pilots and 62 operable aircraft on Dec. 2, 1941, but they and their shark-mouthed P-40s became legendary for their achievements against the Japanese over China and Burma.

National Archives photo



Classic weapons and equipment, “brilliant mistakes” and “might have beens” of history, personality profiles of the famous and infamous, and regular series on World War II, the Civil War, and other military anniversaries. DMN presents the unusual, unknown, untold, and uncelebrated moments in military history.


fueled by the nuclear arms race. The United States suddenly had numerous security commitments around the world. The National Security Act of 1947 overhauled the American military, combining all the armed forces – the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps – into a single National Military Establishment (NME) led by a civilian secretary of defense. The act was amended in 1949 to change the NME’s name to the Department of Defense (DOD). The Pentagon soon became identified not only with the Army, but with the entire U.S. military. The first secretary of defense, James Forrestal, moved into the Pentagon in September 1947. The Navy, which had tried and failed to negotiate a move to the Pentagon in 1941, moved in a year later. The Marine Corps, clinging stubbornly to its reputation for independence, did not move its headquarters to the Pentagon until 1995.

Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara shows President John F. Kennedy around the Pentagon. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. George Anderson and Deputy Secretary of Defense Roswell Gilpatric are also present.

The National Security Act acknowledged the importance of shared planning and communication among the service branches, and the Pentagon’s internal configuration conformed, over the next half-century, to become the nation’s Cold War command post. The Joint Chiefs Area, including the conference room informally known as “The Tank,” was built near the secretary’s office. Over time, the “war rooms” evolved into the National Military Command System (NMCS), created by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara in 1962 and consisting of the National Military Command Center (NMCC) in the


PENTAGON75YEARS Pentagon and the National Emergency Airborne Command Post. While command and control organization within the Department of Defense has evolved and adapted over time, the Pentagon’s NMCC has remained its centerpiece. In the mid1980s, a 5,200-square-foot Crisis Coordination Center was built near the Office of the Secretary of Defense and adjacent to the NMCC, equipped with a computer network and communications equipment for rapid and informed decision-making within the National Command Authority. The Pentagon’s population declined after World War II, but not in proportion to the postwar demobilization. At full occupancy in 1944, it had a working population of up to 33,000. Unlike the military’s active-duty strength – which peaked at more than 12 million in 1945, spiked at around 3.5 million during the wars in Korea and Vietnam, and has hovered below 1.5 million since 1990 – the number of workers in the Pentagon, aside from surges during the Korean and Vietnam conflicts, has tended to remain near its originally intended occupancy, between 23,000 and 26,000. Despite early predictions, the Pentagon has never accommodated the entire staff of the U.S. military. The building has, nevertheless, from its very inception, become an avatar, embodying the nation’s transformation into a global power. In 1992, the National Park Service declared the building a National Historic Landmark. This was, strictly speaking, a breach of the minimum eligibility requirements, which required a landmark to be at least 50 years old. “The Pentagon, however,” wrote the nominating committee, “is of an exceptional level of historical significance . . . Its configuration, role, and location have combined to make the Pentagon an essential and important physical and symbolic element of the Monumental Core of the Nation’s Capital.”

A CULTURAL TOUCHSTONE Long before it had been completed, the Pentagon had become an object of intense popular fascination; the construction itself spawned urban legends and apocryphal tales repeated as fact to this day. The enormity and speed of the concrete pours required to build its walls gave rise to stories of men who’d fallen in and been discovered only after the forms were removed to reveal their corpses. There were many of these stories, each so peculiarly detailed that they seemed impossible to have been made up – in fact, as Vogel recounts in his book, one was recycled and printed as gospel in the Pentagon’s official newsletter in 1984. Other stories involved people getting lost in its vast corridors – which needn’t have been exaggerated; within months of its completion, The New York Times called it “the great, concrete doughnut of a building where the War Department now lives . . . a maze of corridors, ramps and roads.” In 1992, in an article commemorating the building’s 50th anniversary, American Heritage magazine included this anecdote: Another tale told of a woman who rushed up to a guard and exclaimed, “Quick! You have got to get me out of here. I’m about to have a baby.” The guard remonstrated, “You never should have come in here in that condition.” “I wasn’t when I came in,” she snapped back.


Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara indicates infiltration routes in Vietnam during a briefing circa 1966 in the Pentagon.

The denotation of a single office number was a difficult code for newcomers to crack, as the Army deputy chief of staff spelled out for new employees in an orientation pamphlet: … Thus office number 3E210 is on the third floor, in the E Ring, about two tenths of the way around the E Ring in the clockwise direction, starting from the middle of the concourse … Here is your first quiz: find Room BG634A in the Pentagon and report back here. You have ten minutes. (Hint: to make sure you can find your way to turn in your paper, use a ball of string.) Life magazine reported that a typical new Pentagon arrival was “as confused as a fresh rat in a psychologist’s maze.” President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the World War II hero and former Army chief of staff, later wrote: “One had to give the building his grudging admiration; it had apparently been designed to confuse any enemy who might infiltrate it.” During the 1950s, another myth sprang up concerning the hot dog stand in the center of the building’s inner courtyard: Every day around noon, the story went, Soviet satellites captured images of top military brass entering the building in the courtyard, and so, assuming it was the entrance to an important command-and-control bunker, kept at least two nuclear warheads aimed at it. The “world’s most dangerous hot dog stand,” also nicknamed “Café Ground Zero,” was replaced by a new eatery, the Center Court Café, in 2008. The Pentagon’s massive physical, psychological, and geopolitical presence has given rise to more serious cultural debates. Architecturally, it’s the world’s largest example of the austere “Stripped Classical” style, manifested in an outer façade of Indiana limestone, simple columns, and minimal finishes and ornamentation, a look Newsweek magazine derided as “penitentiary-like.” Other observers have admired its simple style and its low elevation; it’s

Members of the military police keep back protesters during their sit-in at the Mall Entrance to the Pentagon.

both imposing and subdued. “Large as the Pentagon was,” Vogel observed, “it barely made a ripple on the landscape.” The Pentagon’s most significant architectural legacy isn’t aesthetic, however. It’s so large that it’s more than a building; it’s a micro-society, incorporating offices, maintenance facilities, an indoor shopping mall, and facilities for handling food service, mail, communications, fitness, recreation, medical care, and other services. Upon the building’s completion in 1943, the magazine Architectural Forum observed that the integration of these facilities under a single roof offered “a real foretaste of the future . . . as building approaches the scale technically feasible, the distinction between architecture and city planning vanishes.” Because of this, the Pentagon has often resembled a microcosm of the greater American society it serves, roiled by the issues of the day. In May 1942, as the first employees were moving in, Roosevelt toured the building and observed that there appeared to be twice as many bathrooms as necessary. At the time, the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Jim Crow laws mandated that new buildings be constructed with separate bathrooms for black and white people, and the officer overseeing the construction, then-Col. Leslie Groves, had complied. Roosevelt had, nearly a year earlier, issued an executive order ending racial segregation in federal agencies and contractors

involved in the war effort, and the restroom segregation was never enforced. The often-written claim that the Pentagon was never segregated, however, isn’t quite true: Vogel recounts an ugly incident, just a couple of weeks after Roosevelt’s visit, in which black workers from the Ordnance Department were turned away from the cafeteria line and directed to a “colored” dining room. The workers’ principled refusal to do so, nearly two decades before the Greensboro sit-ins, resulted in a security guard clubbing one on the skull and drawing his gun. Somervell, furious, ordered Groves to discontinue any enforced segregation in the Pentagon’s dining facilities. Until 1965, in contradiction of Virginia law, the Pentagon was the only non-segregated public building in the state. As the symbol of America’s military, the Pentagon has, not surprisingly, been a target of anti-war protests. The first was staged in 1965 by a single Baltimore Quaker, Norman Morrison, who committed suicide on the lawn below Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara’s window to protest U.S. involvement in Vietnam. The largest-ever Pentagon protest was staged two years later, in October 1967, when tens of thousands of demonstrators, a loose association of groups marching under the umbrella of the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam (“the Mobe”), descended on the building for a 48-hour anti-war rally. Because some of the protestors had publicly announced their intention to gain entrance to the building and disrupt the work going on there, more than 1,200 military police and guard units were brought in, along with 200 federal marshals, to cordon off the area where the protestors were assembled.



The next 48 hours were by turns violent – in their struggle to breach the lines of defense, protestors threw rocks and bottles, smashed windows, and scuffled with guards, resulting in about 45 injuries – and absurd. Abbie Hoffman, co-founder of the Youth International Party (Yippies), threatened guards with a water pistol filled with LSD. At one point, Hoffman and beatnik poet Allen Ginsburg led a crowd of about 100 in a chant aimed at “levitating” the Pentagon. One of the protestors, the novelist Norman Mailer, chronicled the rally in his Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Armies of the Night, in which he described the Pentagon as “the true and high church of the military-industrial complex . . . Every aspect of the building was anonymous, monotonous, massive, interchangeable.” The 1967 protests worsened the climate between the government and anti-war protestors, to the point where the Pentagon was attacked. On May 19, 1972, a day chosen to honor the birthday of the late Ho Chi Minh, the anti-war group the Weathermen placed a bomb in a women’s restroom at the Pentagon. Nobody was hurt, but the bomb caused $75,000 in damage. As Mailer’s words attest, the Pentagon is one of the rarest of icons, symbolizing different things to different observers – or different things to the same observer, depending on changed circumstances. One can see whatever he or she is determined to see in it. In the remarks he delivered at the May 12, 1993 ceremony celebrating the Pentagon’s 50th anniversary, Gen. Colin Powell, then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, eloquently described what he saw in the building: The Pentagon has stood … for more than half a century as a powerful and renowned symbol of America’s convictions, America’s power, and of America’s willingly accepted obligation to the world. In its somber and unpretentious way, it has weathered time, it has weathered wars, it has weathered innumerable crises, and it has weathered the storm of politics. Less than a decade later, the Pentagon weathered far worse. On Sept. 11, 2001, al Qaeda terrorists, determined to destroy precisely what the Pentagon represented to Powell, hijacked a passenger airliner and flew it into the western façade of the building. The attackers died along with 59 other people aboard American Airlines

A photograph of the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2011, after the building was hit by a commercial airplane in a terrorist attack is merged with a photograph of the Pentagon on Sept. 8, 2015.

The Pentagon’s



he Pentagon was built under a strict no-frills pact between Congress and War Department leaders, as recalled by Alfred Goldberg in his 50th anniversary book of Pentagon history and lore: “Throughout World War II and for some years afterward the halls remained Spartan – stark and unadorned. Gradually, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the military departments decorated rings and corridors in their separate areas and common areas in the A ring.” Today, many Pentagon hallways and alcoves feature exhibits, portraits, and memorials. One of the most often visited is the Hall of Heroes, dedicated to the 3,460 recipients of the nation’s highest military decoration: the Medal of Honor. While it’s often used for solemn public events such as promotions, retirements, and other award ceremonies, the hall’s most notable ceremonies occur when a new nameplate is added to its walls. The first such ceremony took place on May 14, 1968, on the day the Hall of Heroes was first dedicated by President Lyndon B. Johnson, who added the names of four service members, one from each armed forces branch, for their actions in the Vietnam War: Spc. 5 Charles C. Hagemeister, U.S. Army; Sgt. Richard A. Pittman, U.S. Marine Corps; BM1C James E. Williams, U.S. Navy, and Capt. Gerald O. Young, U.S. Air Force. “They will place their names now in a new Hall of Heroes,” said Johnson, “created here in the Pentagon as a memorial to all who have earned their country’s highest award for courage in combat.” It was the first time all four services had been represented in a Medal of Honor Ceremony, and the medals were bestowed in the Pentagon’s center courtyard. After the ceremony, Johnson climbed a staircase behind him and cut a red ribbon in front of the entrance to the new hall. The Hall of Heroes has been moved three times since its dedication, and is now in the Pentagon’s main concourse: 2nd floor of the D ring, in corridor 10. Visitors to the hall will see that some of the names have an asterisk next to them – these denote service members who received two Medals of Honor for two separate acts of bravery. Other names are marked with dots to denote Marines who were under the command of the Army during World War I, and who received both the Army and Sea Service versions of the Medal of Honor for a single act of bravery.


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Left: Emergency Conference Room in the National Military Command Center (NMCC). Below: The official party watches as the first inscribed memorial unit is unveiled at the Pentagon Memorial Sept. 11, 2008. The national memorial was the first to be dedicated to those killed at the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001. The site contains 184 inscribed memorial units honoring the 59 people aboard American Airlines Flight 77 and the 125 in the building who lost their lives that day.

Primary sources: The Pentagon: A History, by Steve Vogel. New York: Random House, 2007. The Pentagon: The First Fifty Years, by Alfred Goldberg. Washington, D.C.: Historical Office, Office of the Secretary of Defense, 1992.


flight 77, and the impact and resulting fire killed 125 Pentagon occupants, both military and civilian. For a brief interval, the terrorists achieved the panic and fear they’d aimed for, and the lingering grief will never leave the dozens of families who lost someone at the Pentagon on 9/11. But in the building that rose from the ashes, and in the memorial dedicated on the lawn in 2008 to honor the 184 victims, visitors will see symbols far different from what the attackers hoped to provoke. It’s called the “Pentagon Memorial,” but it doesn’t honor the building; it honors the victims and those – from inside the Penta-

gon and from all over the surrounding communities of Arlington County – who came to their aid. That day’s history, like the history of all the days that have passed in Hell’s Bottom since 1943, was determined by people who chose courage and hopefulness, rather than cowardice and fear. Despite all the newly renovated Pentagon represents, despite all the symbolism that’s been piled onto it over the past 75 years, it’s important to remember that it’s much more than a symbol, as Powell gently reminded visitors in 1993: “ … even though we talk about it as a living thing,” he said, “even though the media quotes it as a living person, I hope no one will forget that the Pentagon really is the thousands of people who work in its offices.”



A UNITED FORCE By Chuck Oldham


The United States’ entrance into World War II changed everything. Just as the Pentagon provided a single headquarters building for all branches of the military to replace the many scattered buildings formerly housing various departments of the armed forces, the demands of total war made apparent the need to bring together each of the armed forces into a command structure forming a coherent whole. Meeting the demands of the war, the Joint Chiefs of Staff was formed to work with its British counterpart in planning combined operations against the Axis powers. Although it was not always completely successful in carrying out its mission, it did prove the advantages and even necessity of joint planning. Joint and combined operations played a crucial part in the Allied victory, and their success pointed the way toward the future. Tremendous advances in technology had also fused the elements of sea, air, and land battles together and made them interdependent, though this might not have been so readily apparent to the services, each of which had excelled in its own role. In the postwar aftermath, what should have been an atmosphere of celebration was not, instead devolving into interservice rivalry and infighting over diminishing funds. After the sacrifices of rationing and the curtailment of spending on civilian goods and enterprises during the war, the public clamored for military budget cuts, and the armed forces struggled over their roles in a vastly changed world. The advent of the atomic bomb and primitive guided missiles caused some critics to call into question the need for

Adm. William Leahy, seated at head of table, center, presides over a meeting of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Potsdam Conference in July 1945.



mong the many issues the framers of the Constitution weighed at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 were the future size and role of the military. In the simplest sense, there were two camps: those who wanted a strong government and a standing army to protect the nation, and those who feared that a strong military could become the instrument of a free nation’s own destruction. Feelings ran deep, and there were battles both in framing the document and in its ratification. In the end, the Constitution’s military clauses were a series of checks and balances. Congress held the purse strings and reserved the power to raise and support armies and to declare war. Military command, however, resided in the executive branch, with the president as commander in chief. The one overriding concept was that of civilian control of the military. The existing secretary at war became the secretary of war, the primary military assistant to the president, and remained so for the next nine years. In April 1798, the Department of the Navy was created, and along with it the secretary of the navy. The secretary of war was in essence secretary of the army, and both services advised the president, who remained the sole arbiter of any disputes between the two. There were more than a few disputes, and efforts to unify planning and command in peace and war were never completely successful. Following the Civil War, failings were analyzed, studies conducted, proposals made, and bills presented to Congress urging better coordination between the services. The Joint Army and Navy Board was created in 1903, composed of members of each service and intended to plan joint operations and solve the problems of cooperation between the services. However, it lacked the authority to back up its recommendations. It survived both world wars, but was dissolved in 1947.


The Allied Combined Joint Chiefs of Staff meet during World War II.


conventional forces of any sort. From the perspective of the armed forces, talk of reorganization meant they were fighting not only for scarce funds, but for their continued existence. In addition to these problems, the president faced the rise of the Soviet Union and the United States’ position as the preeminent world power, leaving him

with too many decisions to make about national policy without a formalized command and planning structure in place. It was simply too much for one man to oversee by himself. There was a great deal of debate about how to reorganize. Although the Joint Chiefs of Staff formed during the war provided a partial model, there were other questions to be settled about the roles of the civilian and military leadership and the shape the structure of national security should take in the postwar world. The one main

After the sacrifices of rationing and the curtailment of spending on civilian goods and enterprises during the war, the public clamored for military budget cuts, and the armed forces struggled over their roles in a vastly changed world. 71

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Although the three service secretaries were reduced to sub-Cabinetlevel positions soon after the creation of the act, ceding most of their responsibilities and authority to the new secretary of defense, they remained in command of each of the military departments. division was between those who thought a complete reorganization should take place, to create a new, completely unified department, and those who thought the organization as it stood simply needed to be modified by creating another level of management at the top to better coordinate everything. When the act took its final form, the principle of civilian control of the military remained, although its implementation had changed. The National Security Act of 1947 created the National Military Establishment, laying the foundation of what was later named the Department of Defense. The act formalized the structure of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and made it the highest ranking military advisory group, comprising members of the Army, Navy (including the Marine Corps) and the newly created U.S. Air Force. In addition to the Air Force, the act created the National Security Council (NSC) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). With the CIA as its intelligence arm, the NSC was formed specifically as a civilian body to oversee the security of the United States in broad terms. The NSC took into account foreign, domestic, and military issues, and coordinated the military and civilian agencies of the government in national security matters. Perhaps more importantly, the act created the Office of the Secretary of Defense. The secretary of defense combined the offices of the secretary of war and secretary of the navy as principal defense policy advisers to the president, exercising authority over the entire Department of Defense. He also controlled and directed the national security policy of the nation. Under the authority of the president, the secretary of defense developed national defense policy, strategy, and the defense budget, and became the civilian leader who guided the military and represented it to Congress, the public, the media, and other nations. Although the three service secretaries were reduced to sub-Cabinet-level positions soon after the creation of the act, ceding most of their responsibilities and authority to the new Secretary of Defense, they remained in command of each of the military departments. Thus, they carried on the philosophy of civilian leadership of the armed forces, and remain responsible for organizing, training, supplying, and equipping forces for assignment to the Unified Combatant Commands, according to the Organization and Functions Guidebook of the Department of Defense (DOD). The DOD also includes four intelligence agencies: • Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) • National Security Agency (NSA) • National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) • National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA)

Other agencies under the DOD include: • Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) • Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) • Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) • Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) • Defense Health Agency (DHA) • TRICARE Management Activity (TCMA) • Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) • Defense Legal Services Agency (DLSA) • Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) • Defense Media Activity (DMA) • Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) • Defense Security Service (DSS) • Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC) • Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) • Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) • Missile Defense Agency (MDA) • Washington Headquarters Services (WHS) • National Guard Bureau (NGB) • Army National Guard (ARNG) • Air National Guard (ANG) • United States Military Entrance Processing Command (USMEPCOM) • Central Security Service (CSS) • National Assessment Group (NAG) The system has worked remarkably well, though it has seen a few changes over the years. The most significant was the Goldwater-Nichols Defense Reorganization Act of 1986, which enhanced the powers of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and brought the long-held goal of jointness a giant step closer. The following year the Nunn-Cohen Amendment formed U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) as a separate command, which proved prescient in the first years of the 21st century, when asymmetrical warfare against terrorist organizations and insurgencies needed just such a command. When the Pentagon was completed some 75 years ago, the nation was embarking in a world war in which an old order would die and America would become the preeminent power in the world. Today America is challenged by rising powers as well as the resurgence of old adversaries while a war against terrorist organizations and non-state actors is waged across multiple domains. Strength, fortitude, courage, and ingenuity overcame a host of problems and challenges to the nation in the first 75 years of the existence of the Pentagon. Let us hope they continue to do so through the 21st century and beyond.


Founded Aug. 1, 1907 (as Aviation Section, U.S. Signal Corps) Sept. 18, 1947 (as the U.S. Air Force) Role Air, space, and cyberspace warfare Personnel and Assets 321,673 active personnel 141,237 full-time employees 69,800 Reserve personnel 106,600 Air National Guard personnel 5,373 manned aircraft Headquarters The Pentagon Arlington County, Virginia, United States Motto “Aim High ... Fly-Fight-Win” “Integrity first, Service before self, Excellence in all we do” Colors Ultramarine Blue, Golden Yellow March The U.S. Air Force Anniversaries Sept. 18


Engagements Mexican Expedition (as Aviation Section, U.S. Signal Corps) World War I (as Aviation Section, U.S. Signal Corps and Army Air Service) World War II (as U.S. Army Air Forces) Korean War Lebanon Crisis Second Taiwan Strait Crisis Quemoy and Matsu Islands Vietnam Assistance Congo Crisis Berlin Crisis Vietnam War Laotian Civil War Cuban Missile Crisis Congo – Operation Dragon Rouge Dominican Civil War – Operation Power Pack Korean DMZ Conflict Cambodian Campaign Communist insurgency in Thailand Cambodia – Operation Eagle Pull Vietnam – Operation Frequent Wind Mayaguez Operation Grenada – Operation Urgent Fury Lebanese Civil War Persian Gulf – Operation Earnest Will Libya – Operation El Dorado Canyon Panama – Operation Just Cause Southwest Asia Conflict Somali Civil War Haiti – Operation Uphold Democracy Kosovo Campaign Afghanistan Campaign Global War on Terrorism



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U.S. ARMY Founded June 14, 1775 Role Land warfare Personnel and Assets 471,513 regular Army (2017) 336,879 Army National Guard (2017) 190,699 Army Reserve (2017) 299,644 civilian personnel Headquarters The Pentagon Arlington County, Virginia, United States Motto “This We’ll Defend” Colors Black, Gold and White March “The Army Goes Rolling Along” Anniversaries June 14

Engagements Revolutionary War War of 1812 Mexican War Civil War Indian Wars War with Spain China Relief Expedition Philippine Insurrection Mexican Expedition World War I World War II Korean War 1958 Lebanon Crisis Vietnam Conflict Dominican Civil War Invasion of Grenada Invasion of Panama Somali Civil War Persian Gulf War Kosovo War Global War on Terrorism Afghanistan Campaign Iraq Campaign Inherent Resolve Campaign



U.S. COAST GUARD Founded Jan. 28, 1915 Role Defense operations, maritime law enforcement, and search and rescue Personnel and Assets 42,042 enlisted and officers 6,142 Reserve Headquarters Douglas A. Munro Coast Guard Headquarters Building, Washington, D.C., United States Motto Semper Paratus (English: “Always Ready”) Colors Coast Guard Red, Coast Guard Blue, White

Engagements Quasi-War War of 1812 Seminole Wars Mexican–American War American Civil War Spanish–American War World War I World War II Korean War Vietnam War Invasion of Grenada Invasion of Panama Persian Gulf War Kosovo War War in Afghanistan Iraq War Operation Inherent Resolve

March Semper Paratus Anniversaries Aug. 4


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U.S. MARINE CORPS Founded Nov. 10, 1775 Role Amphibious and expeditionary warfare Personnel 184,427 active 38,473 Reserve Headquarters The Pentagon Arlington County, Virginia, United States Motto Semper Fidelis Colors Scarlet, Gold March Semper Fidelis “The Marine’s Hymn” Anniversaries Nov. 10 Engagements American Revolutionary War Quasi-War First Barbary War War of 1812 Second Barbary War West Indies Anti-Piracy Operations Seminole Wars African Anti-Slavery Operations

Aegean Sea Anti-Piracy Operations First Sumatran Expedition Second Sumatran Expedition United States exploring Expedition Capture of Monterey Mexican–American War Bombardment of Greytown Battle of Ty-ho Bay First Fiji Expedition Second Opium War Second Fiji Expedition Paraguay Expedition Reform War John Brown’s Raid American Civil War Bombardment of Qui Nhon Shimonoseki Campaign Formosa Expedition United States Expedition to Korea Egyptian Expedition (1882) Bering Sea Anti-Poaching Operations Kingdom of Hawaii Overthrowal Second Samoan Civil War Banana Wars Spanish–American War Second Occupation of Cuba Border War Negro Rebellion Occupation of Nicaragua Occupation of Haiti Occupation of the Dominican Republic (1916) Sugar Intervention Philippine–American War Boxer Rebellion World War I Russian Civil War

World War II Korean War Vietnam War 1958 Lebanon Crisis Occupation of the Dominican Republic (1965) Iranian Hostage Rescue Multinational Force in Lebanon Invasion of Grenada 1986 Bombing of Libya Tanker War Earnest Will Prime Chance Eager Glacier Nimble Archer Praying Mantis Invasion of Panama Persian Gulf War Somali Civil War Iraqi No-Fly Zones Bosnian War Kosovo War International Force for East Timor Operation Enduring Freedom Afghanistan Philippines Horn of Africa Pankisi Gorge Trans Sahara Caribbean and Central America Iraq War Pakistan-United States Skirmishes Operation Odyssey Dawn 2014 Intervention Against ISIL Operation Inherent Resolve Resolute Support Mission


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U.S. NAVY Founded Oct. 13, 1775 Role Naval warfare, power projection, nuclear deterrence, and sealift Personnel 325,802 active-duty personnel 57,650 ready Reserve personnel Headquarters The Pentagon Arlington County, Virginia, United States Motto Semper Fortis (English: “Always Courageous”) (official), Non sibi sed patriae (English: “Not for self but for country”) (unofficial) Colors Blue, Gold March “Anchors Aweigh” Anniversaries Oct. 13

Engagements American Revolutionary War Quasi-War First Barbary War War of 1812 Second Barbary War West Indies Anti-Piracy Operations Seminole Wars African Anti-Slavery Operations Aegean Sea Anti-Piracy Operations First Sumatran Expedition United States Exploration Expedition Patriot War Second Sumatran Expedition Ivory Coast Expedition Capture of Monterey Mexican–American War Bombardment of Greytown Battle of Ty-ho Bay First Fiji Expedition Filibuster War Second Opium War Second Fiji Expedition Reform War Paraguay Expedition American Civil War Bombardment of Qui Nhon Shimonoseki Campaign Formosa Expedition United States Expedition to Korea Egyptian Expedition (1882) Bering Sea Anti-Poaching Operations Kingdom of Hawaii Overthrowal Second Samoan Civil War Banana Wars Spanish–American War Negro Rebellion Occupation of Nicaragua Occupation of Haiti Occupation of the Dominican Republic (1916)

Philippine–American War Boxer Rebellion World War I Bombardment of Samsun World War II Korean War 1958 Lebanon Crisis Vietnam War Occupation of the Dominican Republic (1965) Iranian Hostage Rescue Multinational Force in Lebanon Invasion of Grenada Bombing of Libya (1986) Tanker War Earnest Will Prime Chance Eager Glacier Nimble Archer Praying Mantis Invasion of Panama Gulf War Iraqi No-Fly Zones Somali Civil War Bosnian War Kosovo War International Force for East Timor Operation Enduring Freedom Afghanistan (2001–2014) Philippines Horn of Africa Pankisi Gorge Trans Sahara Caribbean and Central America Iraq War Operation Burnt Frost Operation Odyssey Dawn 2014 Intervention against ISIL Operation Inherent Resolve War in Afghanistan (2015–present) 2017 Shayrat Missile Strike



REBUILDING THE PENTAGON The Pentagon Renovation Project, 1993-2011 By Craig Collins


f you compare an overhead picture of the Pentagon today with one from 1943, they’ll look pretty much the same, aside from some obvious changes to the adjacent roads and grounds. But nearly all of what people see when they look at the Pentagon today didn’t exist when the building was completed in 1943. Officially, the Pentagon Renovation Project (PenRen) is recorded as being carried out from 1998 to 2011, but the building underwent changes almost immediately after it was built. The wide-open office bays, built to take advantage of cross-ventilation via open windows, were carved into warrens of enclosed private offices. Service corridors and walkways were sealed off and converted into office and storage space. With passage of the National Security Act of 1947, the building became a headquarters not only for the Army, but for the Air Force and Navy as well, with each service branch eventually occupying its own wing and making its own functional modifications. Internal spaces were altered to accommodate the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the National Command Authority. Changes were implemented piecemeal over the decades. A 100-by-100-foot helicopter pad was built on the lawn in 1955, a peak in Cold War tensions, to enable the emergency evacuation of top-ranking officials. Helicopter transport soon became a means of official transportation to and from the building, handling, in the words of Pentagon historian Alfred Goldberg, “hundreds of flights a month. A control tower was added in April 1959.” In 1977, when the Washington Metro rail system completed a line to the Pentagon, the old underground bus lanes were replaced by an above-ground terminal that brought buses within less than 10 feet of the building on the Concourse side, and an escalator from the new Metro station brought passengers directly into the Pentagon and its underground shopping center. Many of these changes hampered the functionality of the building’s interior spaces, and a few created security risks that became increasingly obvious as the Pentagon approached its 50th anniversary. Efforts to improve or upgrade some of the building’s internal systems were also implemented piecemeal. When renovation became an object of serious discussion in the late 1980s, the Pentagon had not met the National Electrical Code standards


since 1953, and averaged 20 to 30 power failures a day. In 1989, the coal-fired utilities plant, located in a separate building, had quit working entirely, and was replaced by several rented boilers and chillers that cost $200,000 a month to run. By the 1970s, many other Pentagon features were out of compliance with federal laws. The only elevators available to employees with disabilities were the freight elevators, which had vertically operated doors that tended to knock people on their heads. The building contained an estimated 58,000 tons of asbestos-contaminated material, along with several other hazardous materials that violated environmental and workplace safety codes. Because the use of steel had been minimized during construction, pipes were made from concrete or cast iron. Much of the building’s plumbing had become brittle and corroded. The marshy soil on which the Pentagon had been built was sinking; some parts of the basement had dropped nearly a foot since 1943. The deterioration reached a crisis point recounted by author Steve Vogel in his book The Pentagon: A History. On the evening of Aug. 7, 1990 – the day the military launched Operation Desert Shield and began moving troops and flight squadrons into the Middle East to counter Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait – a smoking coffeepot in the Joint Chiefs’ area triggered fire alarms, which brought Arlington County firefighters to the scene. When the firefighters connected their truck to a standpipe and pressurized the system, an old 10-inch pipe blew apart in one of the underground steam tunnels. Chaos ensued. Vogel wrote: “A torrent of muddy water began pouring into the Pentagon basement . . . Water was cascading down the hallways and spraying violently out of a crawlspace … Hundreds of thousands of gallons of water – eventually millions of gallons – poured into the building.” The rising water approached a high-voltage electrical vault, and for a frightening interval electricians feared they might have to cut power to half the building just as U.S. forces were inserting themselves into Saudi Arabia. The flood was brought under control, but the point many had been trying to make for years – most notably David O. “Doc” Cooke, the civilian director of administration and management known informally as “The Mayor of the Pentagon” –


The sheer size of the Pentagon is evident as a worker uses an excavator inside the buiding to dig a trench during renovation.





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A welder works to install new piping during renovation.

could no longer be denied: The disintegration of the Pentagon was an urgent national security issue. At Cooke’s urging, Congress passed legislation in November transferring stewardship of the Pentagon from the General Services Administration (GSA), the federal “landlord” agency charged with maintaining all federally owned buildings, to the Department of Defense (DOD). Maintenance and upkeep of the Pentagon were at last in the hands of its occupants.


STARTING IN THE BASEMENT The law that gave the DOD control of the Pentagon created a fund that would pay for a 10-year renovation plan. Though the abrupt end of the Cold War in 1991 led some to question whether the Pentagon was necessary anymore, it was soon clear that though it would have to be essentially rebuilt in place, doing so would be cheaper than either abandoning it or rebuilding a new headquarters. The military would be stuck, in any case, with the cost of removing all the hazardous materials – asbestos, lead, mercury, and PCBs – from the building, and would no longer occupy what had become widely

regarded as an institutional icon. The National Park Service, in declaring the building a National Historic Landmark in 1992, helped the DOD decide to hang on to the building. The ambitious new renovation program aimed to provide “new mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, cable management systems, improvements in fire and life safety systems, and flexible ceiling, lighting, and partition systems.” It would provide accessibility for people with disabilities, and “preserve historic elements, upgrade food service facilities, construct co-located operations centers, install modern telecommunications support features, comply with energy conservation requirements, reorganize materials handling, and provide safety improvements in vehicular and pedestrian traffic.” The plan laid out in the early 1990s began with replacing the old power plant and doubling the size of the basement, adding more than a million square feet of usable space. The above-ground interior of the Pentagon would be gutted and rebuilt in five chevronshaped wedges, roughly equal in size, starting at the southwest point of the Pentagon (Wedge 1) and working clockwise. During Wedge 1’s rebuilding, employees would be moved to temporary “swing space” offsite – rented offices in the nearby communities of Rosslyn and Crystal City. After Wedge 1’s completion, employees from each section would be temporarily rotated into other parts of the building. Work launched in 1993. Contractors began replacing the heating and cooling plant. Wedge 1 renovations were designed. Workers started to jackhammer out the basement floor, which would be lowered to accommodate a full mezzanine level between the basement and the first floor. It was a rough start. The more workers dug, the more problems they uncovered, including leaking sewer pipes. Studies revealed the floodplain subsoils would continue to sink for another 50 years. Costs soared. Everyone in the building hated the noise and dust generated by the project, particularly senior leaders. When the Joint Chiefs met in The Tank, the jackhammers were shut down. The renovation project was in trouble. Cooke, in 1997, created the position of Pentagon Renovation Program Manager and hired Walker Lee Evey, an Air Force contracts specialist, to bring the project under control. Evey began by scaling back ambitions for the basement (adding a little more than 320,000 square feet to the mezzanine level, instead of a planned 1.1 million) and focusing more resources on the above-ground sections. His slogan for the project – On Cost, On Schedule, Built for the Next 50 Years – proved surprisingly inspirational for people tired of being reviled by everyone else in the building. On Feb. 12, 1998, Evey staged a ceremonial “Big Bash” to mark the beginning of Wedge 1 renovations: Pentagon VIPs, armed with sledgehammers, each took a swing at a fourth floor wall of the E ring. The Pentagon renovation was, once again, officially underway.

A VULNERABLE TARGET By the time of the 1998 reboot, additional concerns had to be addressed in the Pentagon’s renovation. The building had always been remarkably open for a military headquarters, prompting


Building projects that support our national defense MARINE







vague security concerns that became increasingly specific as the project took shape. The 1993 attack on the North Tower of the World Trade Center, when a truck bomb was detonated by terrorists in the underground parking garage, was intended to bring down the entire 110-story building. In hindsight, the decision to close off the Pentagon’s underground tunnels to vehicle traffic seemed wise, but buses, taxis, and other hired passenger transports still came incredibly close to the Pentagon. Planes flew over it. Commercial trucks drove right up to it and unloaded their cargo. Two highways, Virginia state routes 27 (to the northwest) and 110 (to the northeast), passed close by. Metro rail passengers got off the train and rode an escalator straight into the belly of the Pentagon. Two more terrorist attacks influenced the design of the Pentagon Renovation. In April 1995, a truck bomb parked in front of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City detonated and ripped through every floor in the building, killing 168 people. In August 1998, two truck bombings were carried out nearly simultaneously, killing more than 200 people at the U.S. Embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya. The concerns raised by these attacks were twofold: First, they highlighted how easy it would be for a truck bomb to be parked at the Pentagon’s doorstep. Passenger transports stopped at the curb, and every day around 250 delivery trucks backed up to the loading docks on the Pentagon’s south side to unload their cargo. Cooke had been arguing for years to move the loading docks to a facility away from the building. The materials used to build the Pentagon comprised a second vulnerability. The exterior walls were made of unreinforced brick and concrete; its builders had avoided steel to reserve

While the exterior walls of the Pentagon retained their familiar shape and character, the interior was almost entirely gutted and rebuilt from the basement up to the top floor. Even the windows were replaced with blastresistant versions.

it for the war effort. Many casualties of the African embassy bombings were killed by flying chunks of masonry, and in Nairobi the bomb shattered every window within nearly a halfmile radius. In all of the United States, there was probably no greater symbol of American might than the Pentagon, which made it a prime target for terrorist attacks. And the Pentagon had been built with a lot of windows: Each of the five 924-foot exterior walls had up to 400 windows, each about 5 feet wide and 7 feet tall. To minimize such vulnerabilities, Evey and the project team folded security measures and material modifications into the Wedge 1 renovation, but the Pentagon Renovation wasn’t without its critics, and some thought the security features were overkill. Steel columns were bolted in place along all five floors to shore up the integrity of the walls, and the windows were framed with 6-inch-thick steel beams. Fabric made of Kevlar – the material used to make bulletproof vests – was stretched between these steel members inside the walls to minimize the shrapnel effect of potential explosions. Two-inch-thick blast-resistant windows, each costing $10,000 and weighing three-quarters of a ton, were installed on the Wedge 1 exterior, 312 on the outside and 70 facing the inner courtyard. Additional fire exits with automatic doors were added. A sprinkler system was installed throughout most of the section.







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The teardown and rebuilding of Wedge 1 continued more or less on schedule. The demolition of this segment alone removed about 28 million pounds of asbestos. In the new mezzanine area, the DiLorenzo Tricare Health Clinic opened in 2000. By September 2001, the Wedge 1 renovation was nearly complete, and the first workers in this section were making their way back in. More than half the occupants of Wedge 2 had moved out to prepare for the next phase of renovation. By the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, five days shy of the official completion of the Wedge 1 renovation, these two sections contained about half of the 9,500 people who would have been there on a normal workday.


THE SEPTEMBER 11 ATTACK It was a little after 9:30 in the morning on Sept. 11, 2001, when American Airlines Flight 77, a Boeing 757 airliner carrying 59 passengers and crew, slammed into the new western façade of the Pentagon, traveling 350 miles an hour and carrying 10,000 gallons of jet fuel. The hijacked jet struck the building at about a 45-degree angle, causing catastrophic damage to support columns on the first and second floors. It penetrated the three outermost (E, D, and C) rings of the Pentagon, passing from Wedge 1 into Wedge 2 as it disintegrated. The impact, explosion, and ensuing fire killed all 59 victims on the aircraft and 125 people in the Pentagon – including 29 of the 30 naval officers at work in the new Navy Command Center. Nearly 200 Americans were killed in the Pentagon attack. Thousands of friends and family members were grieving and their lives would never be the same – but the attackers somehow had struck precisely where they would cause the least amount of damage. “This was a terrible tragedy,” Evey told reporters a few days later, “but I’m here to tell you that if we had not undertaken these efforts in the building, this could have been much, much worse.” Probably the most important factor in the relatively low number of Pentagon casualties in the building was that so much of the affected area was unoccupied that day, due to the ongoing renovation. According to an article in the Los Angeles Times a few days after the attack, only about 800 of the 4,500 people who would normally have been working in the hardest-hit area of the building were there. No building could have withstood the impact of such a violent crash, but the hardened features of Wedge 1 probably helped save many people who wouldn’t have survived otherwise. While the first and second floors were immediately destroyed, the third, fourth, and fifth floors remained in place, held up by steel supports, for another 30 to 40 minutes, allowing people time to evacuate. All but two of the victims in the Pentagon were on the first or second floor. What eventually caused the upper floors to collapse was the intense heat of burning jet fuel. Without the steel supports, a much larger expanse of the building probably would have fallen immediately, with a much greater loss of life. Demolition crews later found a message scrawled on a wall: “Thank you for the safety windows + reinforcement! All our people escaped!” Images of the building exterior after the collapse showed intact windows, literally inches away from where the rest of the building

Part of the building renovations included replacement of old communications technology, such as the WECO switch shown here, with 100,000 new voice, video, and data drops and 16 consolidated server rooms.

had fallen. An article in ArchitectureWeek magazine the following month marveled: “So resilient was the newly strengthened section of the Pentagon that a glass display case only 40 feet from where the plane entered the building survived without a crack.” The new sprinkler system, admittedly useless in combatting a fire that was estimated to have burned hotter than 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit, cooled and protected many evacuees. From a distance, in fact, the damage to the Pentagon seemed so slight, for a building that had just absorbed the impact of a 757 jetliner, that some 9/11 conspiracy theorists seized on images of the scene as evidence that there had been no plane crash at all: Why was the opening so small, when a 757 had a 124-foot wingspan? Why were windows intact just inches from the collapsed section? Not all of the new features worked as expected, because nobody had ever expected an attack to take the form of a jet plane. The emergency fire doors worked flawlessly, slamming shut to seal off corridors and prevent the spread of fire, but they also temporarily trapped people who had to pry them open to escape; they were designed to funnel evacuees into nearby stairwells – but the stairwells had been destroyed in the explosion. The 9/11 attack forced a fresh look at the existing plan for renovation. The Remote Delivery Facility was being built north of the Pentagon, severing the direct link between the building and cargo trucks, but the nearby highways, state routes 27 and 110, now seemed too close for comfort. The Metro Entrance Facility, which would move arriving buses and other passenger vehicles away from the building, was under construction adjacent to the southwest wall, but the escalator from the underground Metro station was still disgorging about 15,000 people a day into the Pentagon lobby. These and other issues would have to be addressed.


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Workers spread concrete for new flooring during Pentagon renovation. The project progressed through the gutting and reconstruction of five wedges, with the workers in the affected wedge moving offsite until each one was renovated.

The Pentagon Renovation team absorbed and integrated the lessons learned into a revised plan, one that would now include an entirely new effort called the Phoenix Project: the complete demolition and rebuilding of the 400,000-square-foot damaged section within a year. The renovation of Wedges 2 through 5 would continue. Originally scheduled for completion in 2014, they were accelerated with funding from Congress, whose legislators realized the program’s urgency. Far from delaying the project, the 9/11 terror attacks were a catalyst that drove it closer to completion.

WEDGES 2-5 At the peak of activity, more than 3,500 workers toiled away at the site, working wedge to wedge while the DOD continued to function at full strength – a job Evey compared to “taking apart a black-and-white TV and putting it back together again in color, without missing any of your favorite programs.” In the spring of 2011, the last of the displaced employees returned to work at a new Pentagon, in compliance with every applicable statute and code and built for efficiency, using sustainably harvested lumber, lower-water plumbing fixtures, energy-efficient lighting, and carpeting and other materials made from recycled content. More than 50 percent of the construction waste had been salvaged and recycled. Inside, the Pentagon, though familiar, looked entirely new. In June of 2011, in The Washington Post, Steve Vogel wrote: Old-timers accustomed to marching up ramps and stairs marvel at the 70 passenger elevators in the new Pentagon. The institutional cafeterias with kitchen mixing bowls the size of Volkswagens are gone, too, replaced by an airy twostory dining atrium of terrazzo, stainless steel and glass. The hot dog stand in the center courtyard was rebuilt and

is now known as the Center Court Cafe, offering panini and quesadillas. Built in an era of analog telephones and manual typewriters, the Pentagon was now a headquarters fit for the Information Age, with more than 100,000 voice, data, and video drops and 16 consolidated server rooms. In addition to these modernized spaces, the surrounding grounds featured several conspicuous differences, including the reconfiguration of State Route 27, which had entrance and exit ramps altered to provide a security checkpoint at the Remote Delivery Facility entrance, and State Route 110, which was swung out to the east to skirt the Pentagon Lagoon rather than the building itself. Each of the new facilities on the Pentagon Reservation was certified under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program: • The computer-controlled New Heating and Refrigeration Plant (NHRP) relies on natural gas and a solar roof to achieve 30 percent greater efficiency than its predecessor. • The 250,000-square-foot Remote Delivery Facility, on the north lawn, provides a secure consolidated location for receiving and screening thousands of items shipped to the building each day. With its landscaped roof, it’s hardly visible to anyone looking out the north windows. • The Metro Entrance Facility, off the southwest façade of the building, moved vehicular traffic away from the building itself by providing a new Metro bus stop and an arrival point for Metro rail passengers. • A new Pentagon Athletic Center on the north side of the building accommodates 8,000 members daily with workout equipment and exercise areas. • The Pentagon Library and Conference Center, near the Pentagon Lagoon, houses the Army library, several offices of the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, a café, and 16 conference rooms. The last feature to be added to the grounds was the Pentagon Memorial, dedicated on Sept. 11, 2008, on the southwest lawn where Flight 77 approached the building seven years earlier. The wide expanse features 184 benches, each bearing the name of a victim of the Pentagon attack and arching over a shallow reflecting pool lit from below. In his remarks at the memorial’s dedication, President George W. Bush remembered the victims, as well as the Pentagon employees, first responders in Arlington and New York, and the passengers of United Flight 93 who sacrificed their lives on that day to protect other Americans from harm. “On a day when buildings fell, heroes rose,” he said. “And here at this hallowed place, we pledge that we will never forget their sacrifice.” At the ceremony, the president also recognized the men and women of the armed forces. “When our enemies attacked the Pentagon,” he said, “they pierced the rings of this building, but they could not break the resolve of the United States Armed Forces.” It was a sincere, moving tribute to all that the Pentagon – the understated, sprawling low-rise, built in a hurry in Hell’s Bottom on the Potomac – had stood for since 1943, and now, thanks to the work of those who’d rebuilt it, would embody for at least another half-century.



STRENGTH, HONOR, FORTITUDE The Pentagon’s 9/11 First Responders


t 9:38 on the bright, sunny morning of Sept. 11, 2001, many people in the Washington Metropolitan Area – especially law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical services (EMS) crews – were already aware that the World Trade Center had suffered an apparent attack by terrorists who had flown passenger airliners into the North and South Towers. But the terrible news from New York City could not prepare them for the shock of seeing a Boeing 757 – American Airlines Flight 77 – flying eastward, just hundreds of feet above the ground, on a steep and rapid descent toward the nation’s capital. Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) Cpl. Barry Foust, stopped at a traffic light less than 2 miles west of the Pentagon, saw the aircraft through his windshield. Three blocks away, at the intersection of Columbia Pike and South Wayne Street, ACPD Motorcycle Officer Richard Cox looked up to see, in the polished underside of the plane’s fuselage, the reflection of the buildings over which it was passing. Both officers then heard an explosion and saw a towering plume of smoke. Foust radioed: “We just had an airplane crash.” Cox was able to specify the Pentagon as the site of impact.


In Arlington County Fire Department’s (ACFD) Engine 101, Fire Capt. Steve McCoy and his crew, traveling north on Interstate-395 for a training exercise in Crystal City, saw the plane bank sharply before disappearing over the horizon. As soon as they heard the explosion and saw the massive plume of smoke and fire, McCoy radioed the Arlington County Emergency Communications Center (ECC) and – already thinking of the World Trade Center attacks – advised that the FBI be notified of a possible terrorist attack. A few miles to the west, on Route 267, Virginia State Trooper Mike Middleton, who had just pulled over a motorist to issue a citation, heard his colleague, Trooper Myrlin Wimbish, shouting over the radio that a plane had just crashed into the Pentagon. Wimbish had been refueling his patrol car within view of the Pentagon when Flight 77 hurtled overhead, so close that his car rocked in the turbulence of the plane’s wake. Wimbish, like many other witnesses, later observed that the plane was accelerating as it struck the building. Middleton set out immediately for the Pentagon. When he turned south onto Route 110, he heard another tremendous explosion, followed by a roiling column of smoke. Once on scene, he ran to the huge

But the terrible news from New York City could not prepare them for the shock of seeing a Boeing 757 – American Airlines Flight 77 – flying eastward, just hundreds of feet above the ground, on a steep and rapid descent toward the nation’s capital.


By Craig Collins

The Pentagon in flames just minutes after a hijacked jetliner crashed into the building on Sept. 11, 2001. One of the fire trucks dispatched from the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport battles the fire.

smoking hole in the side of the building. “I yelled to a Pentagon police officer that our trooper was inside, and he pointed to an opening to the right of the impact site, and I just ran to that opening,” he recalled. “I was immediately doused with a huge wall of water, because a water line had ruptured. I remember yelling to Myrlin. I could hear his voice. I couldn’t see him, because it was pitch black and the smoke was so thick in there.” Middleton doesn’t remember how he ended up in the vast, hollowed-out area of destruction where the plane had struck the Pentagon. He remembers directing three military personnel, who were stumbling down the hallway, toward the glow of Wimbish’s flashlight. “We started searching the area,” he said. “At one point, it looked like a big auditorium. Chunks of debris from the plane and the building were glowing red … It was like a nightmare. I felt

like I was in hell, because the only illumination we had was from the glowing chunks of the plane.” Nevertheless, Middleton saw horrors enough to convince him there were no survivors at the immediate crash site. He and Wimbish accompanied a Pentagon police officer and a renovation contractor to a second-floor corridor, which was also choked with smoke. The men broke in doors and looked for people until the heat was too intense for them to continue further – at the end of the hallway, Middleton recalled, in the direction of the crash site, “something was glowing red.” The men checked the third floor, and then the fourth, where they encountered fire and rescue personnel who told them to leave the building. “That’s when I realized I was having trouble breathing,” Middleton said, “because I wasn’t covering my face. I was just full of fear and adrenaline. When we started coming down, I started feeling dizzy. There was another explosion, and I remember a guy grabbed me and said, ‘Run!’ And then we were on adrenaline again, and I just remember going from intense heat to – it felt freezing cold outside. And that’s when I blacked out.”




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Arlington County Fire Chief James Schwartz (right) and Maj. Gen. Karl R. Horst, then-commanding general of the Joint Force HeadquartersNational Capital Region and the U.S. Army Military District of Washington, look at the plaque for the Pentagon stone presented to the firefighters, recognizing their heroic service following the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon, March 24, 2011.


CONTROLLING CHAOS For Middleton – who would wake up four days later in a hospital bed, having barely survived first- and second-degree burns to his trachea and lungs – the day was over. But for everyone in the region’s law enforcement, fire, and EMS communities, a long ordeal was just beginning. When Flight 77 slammed into the southwestern façade of the Pentagon at about 400 miles per hour, the destruction it caused was immediate and calamitous. With its full load of jet fuel, it weighed about 270,000 pounds, the equivalent of a diesel locomotive. The aircraft’s forward section disintegrated on impact, but the middle and tail sections penetrated three of the Pentagon’s five concentric rings – 310 feet beyond the building’s facade. Everyone on the plane – 53 passengers, six crewmembers, and the five hijackers – was killed instantly. In and around the Pentagon itself, 125 people died, either from the impact, the ensuing fire, or smoke inhalation.

Fire Capt. Dennis Gilroy and his crew, Foam 161 of the Fort Myer Fire Department, were already on station at the Pentagon – adjacent to the heliport on the lawn, near the site of impact – when the aircraft slammed into the building. Their truck was disabled by the blast, but Gilroy and his crew, despite suffering injuries and burns of their own, began helping victims out of the Pentagon’s first-floor windows. In the early stages of the Pentagon fire, water would be useless against – and could even increase the danger of – a fire fueled by about 36,000 pounds of jet fuel. Fortunately, two aircraft rescue firefighter (ARFF) crews from nearby Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport promptly set up their apparatus directly in front of the gaping hole in the Pentagon. Trained in fighting jet fuel fires with chemical foam, these units knocked down the bulk of the initial fire within minutes, enabling personnel to evacuate the building quickly and safely. “God bless them,” said Richard Keevill, who was Arlington’s area commander for the Virginia State Police, and who had seen, through the window of his office across the street from the Pentagon, Flight 77 approaching. “They probably saved a lot of people’s lives.” All the evacuees who made it out of the Pentagon that day, except for one, survived. The foam units were part of a substantial contingent sent by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) Fire Department. Within minutes, help had arrived or was on its way from all over the area: fire and medical units from several Arlington County stations, the District of Columbia, and the county’s



The surviving victims of the Pentagon attack encountered abundant EMS resources – the immediate availability of military doctors, nurses, and first aid responders ensured the prompt and orderly initiation of triage and medical care delivery, and the capabilities assembled at the site within the first few hours proved more than was necessary. 98

Injured victims of the 9/11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon are loaded onto an ambulance at the medical triage area for transport to a local hospital.

assumed the job of incident commander, first focusing on gaining tactical control of fire suppression, rescue, and EMS. It was a job unlike any he’d ever faced before – though it was also a task that, given the strategic leadership of Arlington Fire Chief Ed Plaugher, he was in a unique position to fulfill: Schwartz had overseen joint exercises with the Defense Department, the FBI, and other urban fire departments proficient in terrorism and mass-casualty events. One of Schwartz’s first moves was to assign ACFD Battalion Chief Bob Cornwell, a 35-year veteran who knew the Pentagon better than anyone in the department, command of several companies in initiating the search and rescue mission. As the day progressed, Schwartz established a tiered command structure: The firefight was conducted by two different divisions from both the outside and the inner ring of the Pentagon, and an EMS division handled medical activities that became centered in the building’s south parking area. These efforts were frustrated by intervening circumstances – by the collapse of the damaged section of the Pentagon at 10:10 a.m.; by a recent building renovation that had introduced new features, including blast-proof windows and automatic fire-protection doors, that blocked or slowed firefighters’ access; and then by a series of confusing evacuation orders, prompted by the approach of unknown aircraft, that stopped any progress in its tracks. “The first couple of hours,” recalled Keevill, “were a mess. On the public safety side, it was organized chaos. A lot of the


mutual-aid partners, including the city of Alexandria and Fairfax County. Arlington County’s law enforcement personnel also converged on the Pentagon. ACPD Lt. Robert Medairos, after consulting with the Pentagon police (then known as the Defense Protective Service), assumed responsibility for securing the outer perimeter of the Pentagon, directing officers to 27 nearby intersections. Less than 90 minutes after the attack, more than 100 law enforcement personnel – from the ACPD, Arlington County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO), Fairfax County Police, Alexandria Police, Arlington County Park Rangers, and Immigration and Naturalization Service – had reported to the staging area. The Virginia State Police took complete responsibility for manning all the exit ramps from I-395. Deputy Chief Stephen Holl ultimately took charge of the ACPD response. ACFD’s assistant chief for operations, James Schwartz, arrived at the Pentagon about 10 minutes after the plane’s impact and


Standing before a burned-out hulk of an automobile, an Alexandria, Virginia, fireman inspects the damage to the Pentagon after a hijacked Boeing 757, American Airlines Flight 77, was deliberately crashed into the building on Sept. 11, 2001. The Pentagon attack followed an attack on the twin towers of the New York World Trade Center, where two fully loaded passenger airliners were flown into the buildings in what has been called the worst terrorist attack in history.

military people who ran out – because that was the right thing to do – turned around and went back in to get their colleagues. But the fire was so intense, and there was so much heat, that there were limited things they could do.” Fire and rescue crews would later report finding more than one victim who, judging from the circumstances and the position in which their bodies were found, seemed likely to have been running into the building, rather than away from it. To this day, Schwartz – who later succeeded Ed Plaugher as Arlington’s fire chief – considers the Pentagon’s civilian and mil-

itary employees the “real heroes of that day, because without the necessary training and equipment – with nothing greater than a sense of loyalty and duty to their country and their comrades – many of those people put their lives at risk, and I would argue in a few cases even lost their lives, trying to help their colleagues in the building.” Nevertheless, after the collapse of the damaged section, most Pentagon personnel agreed to abide by a cordon established across the front of the building. By midday, Schwartz’s incident command was beginning to establish control over the various elements of the massive response.

A SUPPORTING ROLE The surviving victims of the Pentagon attack encountered abundant EMS resources – the immediate availability of military doctors, nurses, and first aid responders ensured the prompt and orderly initiation of triage and medical care delivery, and the capabilities assembled at the site within the first few hours proved more than was necessary. The main reason for this, as Schwartz





Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Paul Carlton Jr., surgeon general of the Air Force (right), Master Sgt. Noel Sepulveda, USAF (center), and Pentagon employees pitch in to help where needed after a hijacked American Airlines flight deliberately crashed into the Pentagon Sept. 11, 2001.

pointed out, was that about half the stricken area was just completing the first phase of a building renovation, a complete overhaul that kept the section – which on a normal day might have contained thousands of people – virtually unoccupied. Notable exceptions included the second-floor Office of the U.S. Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel (DCSPER), the Army’s first-floor Resource Services-Washington (RSW) Office, and the newly opened Navy Command Center, which occupied more than a third of an acre in the Pentagon’s D and C rings. These areas suffered heavy casualties on Sept. 11. By early afternoon, 106 surviving victims requiring treatment had been transported to hospitals and other medical facilities; 57 were treated and released, while 49 were admitted for further treatment. Despite the unprecedented circumstances of the main fire, crews managed to extinguish the damaged impact area during the daylight hours of Sept. 11. A troublesome roof fire, consuming the timber framing and old horsehair insulation beneath the slate and concrete decking of the Pentagon’s peaked roof, smoldered through the night, threatening to spread to other sections of the building, before it was finally isolated and extinguished. “It proved very difficult to control,” Schwartz said. “The firefighters literally had to break up that slate and get hose streams up under there. The

first 24 hours were very intensive in terms of firefighting, managing victims, and providing medical care.” As conditions on the ground began to improve – as firefighters continued to knock down spot fires and engineers from the Federal Emergency Management Agency shored up the damaged sections and made them safe to enter – the primary objective of response began to shift toward safely dismantling the damaged parts of the building. Rescue technicians inevitably came across evidence – human remains or aircraft parts or, eventually, the plane’s flight data recorder – that had to be catalogued. The process was meticulous and often tedious, with the entire area electronically mapped and each item of evidence logged according to its GPS coordinates. Leaders of the response operations had decided that all victim remains would be treated with the utmost respect. “We weren’t going to try and distinguish between civilian and military in that kind of an environment,” Schwartz said. “We would process those remains and the military would then convey those out of the building with the highest military honors. Everything – the entire incident team – would come to a stop. People would come to attention while the remains were taken out of the building and removed to a temporary morgue that was on the scene. And then we would go back to work until the next piece of evidence was found.” Eventually, the primary emphasis of operations at the Pentagon became the criminal investigation, at which point the FBI took over incident command, and area law enforcement personnel took on supporting roles. ACPD Capt. Kevin Reardon, who was then a lieutenant in the narcotics division, describes this phase of the operation as the most dramatic for law enforcement personnel.



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“Policemen went in with the FBI and photographed each location, each body, each body part, and then recovered it and got it to the morgue. That went on for weeks. We had a couple officers who had to take disability time off after that, to recover their mental health.” In the latter phase of evidence collection, investigators combed through the tons of rubble, spread out with loaders over the Pentagon’s north parking area, and found the evidence that told them who the hijackers were, how they got on the plane, and how they took control of Flight 77.


A FELLOWSHIP OF PUBLIC SERVANTS The response to the Pentagon attack involved the coordination of resources from all over the greater Washington, D.C., area – and not just from fire, EMS, and law enforcement personnel. Ron Carlee, who was Arlington’s county manager on 9/11 – and whose initials have since been welded into the keel of the USS Arlington – pointed out that every single agency in the Arlington County government had a role. It was the Parks and Recreation Department, Carlee said, who set up the 2,000 feet of fencing that established a security perimeter around the heliport lawn. One of the key figures in the response turned out to be Larry Callan, the Arlington County

Medical personnel and volunteers work the first medical triage area set up outside the Pentagon after a hijacked commercial airliner crashed into the southwest corner of the building.

Public Schools electrician, who managed to string lights through the dense smoke and illuminate the area for firefighters. When volunteers and contractors arrived to provide food service for the first responders, said Carlee, “We deployed our restaurant inspectors to inspect all of the food preparation and service. Our library personnel set up a 24-hour hotline and provided information services to people with questions about what was going on, and helped construct our proactive communication to keep people updated externally. Our public works guys handled trash collection, serviced all the vehicles, and did fuel deliveries for small equipment. We used every single one of our assets.” Throughout the operations, recalled Holl, responders were overwhelmed with the support of ordinary citizens from around the area. Across from the Pentagon, on a grassy slope near where the Air Force Memorial now stands, civilians began to congregate soon after the attacks, some of them family members of the victims. “That’s where the makeshift memorial started, where people started bringing flowers and candles and posters, where they


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“I saw the very worst things I had seen in my career as a police officer – and the very best. It was horrendous to see it and be a part of the first response, but it was also, in my very humble view, a privilege to be part of it, because typically our military is protecting us, and as civilian law enforcement and public safety officers, we were in a position to help protect them.”

wrote some really very touching things,” said Holl, who is currently chief of the MWAA police force. “One day I decided I needed a break, and so I had somebody drive me up there. I walked through the crowd, and I said to them: ‘Hey, thanks for being here. The first responders can see you all up here, and it’s really heartening to know you all are behind us.’ I asked a couple of them: ‘Why are you here?’ And they just said, ‘I had to be near the site. I had to be a part of it.’” Middleton, who nearly died after running into the burning building – the heat of the inferno melted his metal name plate, and he still wears the badge blackened by the scorch marks received on that day – returned to work on Nov. 1, 2001. “The daily daunting tasks of recovering bodies, collecting the debris of the plane – I was not involved in any of that,” he said. “Some of my friends, who were, talked about working 17- and 20-hour days, getting two hours of sleep, and then getting up and going right back to do it all over again.” “Looking back,” said Keevill, who later became chief of the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, “I saw the very worst things I had seen in my career as a police officer – and the very best. It was horrendous to see it and be a part of the first response, but it was also, in my very humble view, a privilege to be part of it, because typically our military is protecting us, and as civilian law enforcement and public safety officers, we were in a position to help protect them.” After the conclusion of every 24-week training course, Arlington County Fire recruits are taken to the Pentagon’s 9/11 Memorial, on the southwest lawn of the building, where they are told the story of that day. “We ask them to remember what we’re telling them,” Schwartz said, “and to carry forward the sacrifices that were made – if not in exactly the same way, at least in the spirit of what the fire service represents to communities, how we stepped up with our partners and acted in a way that served others.” The U.S. Navy landing platform docks – USS New York, USS Arlington, and USS Somerset, honor those who served and died on 9/11. Every firehouse in Arlington County – Schwartz, who was the keynote speaker at the USS Arlington’s christening ceremony on March 26, 2011, has seen to it – bears a framed copy of the USS Arlington’s seal, whose symbols evoke the significance

Fire fighters and military personnel on the roof of the Pentagon unfurl a large American Flag during the Sept. 12, 2001, visit of President George W. Bush to the site of the previous day’s terrorist attack on the Pentagon. As the flag was draped over the wall, just south of the site where American Airlines Flight 77 impacted the building, the disaster workers gathered around the president began to sing “God Bless America.”

of what happened at the Pentagon, both to the victims of the attacks and to the first responders from law enforcement, fire and rescue, and EMS. “I wanted to remind my own organization that as the USS Arlington sails in defense of our nation,” said Schwartz. “There is a direct connection: The ship was named as a result of the events on 9/11. I never want my organization to forget the horrific human tragedy and the loss that those 184 families suffered.” “These military guys expect it, day in and day out,” Middleton said, “and they get no recognition for what they do. I tell people: ‘Look, my ordeal lasted 25 minutes that day. And these guys not only picked up the pieces – they went to war to help protect us.’ I want to express my gratitude and appreciation for what they do.”





“Let’s roll.” The slogan adopted for the Phoenix Project – the reconstruction of a massive section of the Pentagon destroyed on 9/11 – and displayed prominently during reconstruction were the last words spoken on his cellphone by United Airlines Flight 93 passenger Todd Beamer as he and fellow passengers and crewmembers mounted an assault on their hijackers, eventually forcing the plane to crash into an open field in rural Pennsylvania rather than its presumed target: the White House.

By J.R. Wilson


a field in rural Pennsylvania, killing all 44 crew and passengers, including four al Qaeda terrorists. The day before the terrorist attack, about 3,800 people had moved back into the newly renovated Wedge 1 – the first of five 1,000,000-gross-square-foot Pentagon “wedges” scheduled for extensive renovation under a plan begun in 1994. Had the attack come a week later, hundreds more would have been in their new offices. Fire, water, smoke, and mold damaged 1.6 million square feet of the building, with another 400,000 square feet – about half in



t 9:37 a.m. EDT on Sept. 11, 2001, a hijacked Boeing 757-223 jetliner – American Airlines Flight 77 – was deliberately crashed into the western side of the Pentagon at 530 mph. As it penetrated 310 feet into the three outermost of the building’s five rings, 10,000 gallons of jet fuel ignited, unleashing a 200-foot-high fireball and destroying a segment of the military complex that was just finishing its first renovation since the Pentagon was constructed during World War II. Inside the building, 125 men, women, and children died, along with 64 crew and passengers aboard the aircraft, including the five hijackers. Another 106 were injured on the ground. Flight 77 was hijacked less than 35 minutes after departing Washington Dulles International Airport for Los Angeles with only one-third of its seats occupied. The attack came just moments after two other hijacked airliners – American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 – crashed into the World Trade Center buildings in New York City, killing 157, including 10 terrorists, aboard the aircraft, 2,996 in the skyscrapers and on the ground, and injuring more than 6,000. A third hijacked aircraft – United Airlines Flight 93, believed heading for the White House – was forced by passengers to crash into

U.S. Army soldiers help unfurl a large American flag as it is hoisted aloft by a construction crane in preparation for a Dec. 11, 2001, Pentagon ceremony in remembrance of those who perished in the terrorist attack on Sept. 11. The ceremony was part of a day of remembrance proclaimed by President George W. Bush.

Wedge 1, the other half in the adjoining Wedge 2 – suffering severe structural damage and requiring complete structural demolition and reconstruction. Demolition and rebuilding – dubbed the Phoenix Project – were delayed until after a memorial ceremony, held at the Pentagon on Oct. 11, 2001. The demolition phase, begun on Oct. 18 and estimated to take two months – far faster than a normal rate of six months – was completed only one month later. Reconstruction began on Nov. 19 with the laying of concrete for the first new structural columns.

While the work just completed on Wedge 1 at the time of the attack had to be redone from scratch, the Phoenix Project – planned for completion by Sept. 11, 2002 – actually resulted in a significant speed-up in the overall 20-year renovation effort. The Phoenix Project was completed one month ahead of schedule and under budget and the complete $4.5 billion Pentagon renovation (PenRen) on June 21, 2011, four years later than the original estimate, but three years sooner than the 1999 revised schedule. Gen. Richard B. Myers, then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, thanked the Phoenix Project Team at a ceremony marking



An exterior view of the crash site following the Sept. 11 attack on the Pentagon.

the anniversary of the attack: “You’ve restored this great building ahead of schedule, with muscle, determination, marble, cement and Indiana limestone. You did more than repair our windows and walls, you repaired our souls. In the process, you turned this building into another symbol, one of American resilience.” That was one of two on-site ceremonies marking the completion of the Phoenix Project and the anniversary of the attack. On the morning of Sept. 11, 2002, more than 12,000 people attended the “United in Freedom” ceremony commemorating the lives lost at the Pentagon on 9/11/2001. That afternoon, a Worker Appreciation Ceremony was held to honor the efforts of those who worked tirelessly to rebuild the Pentagon. The creation, approval, funding, and completion of the Phoenix Project matched the speed and effort of the original construction of the Pentagon, which, ironically, began on Sept. 11, 1941, and the world’s largest office building was completed, occupied, and fully functional only 17 months later. According to a Department of Defense (DOD) paper presented at the Project Management Institute (PMI) Global Congress 2003-North America, “The moment American Airlines Flight 77 slammed into the Pentagon, the Phoenix Project was initiated. The project was authorized without reviewing a strategic plan, using project selection methods or producing a project charter. “Overnight, the cost to renovate the Pentagon was estimated and submitted to Congress. By Sept. 15, 2001, the decision was

made to occupy the point of impact within a year and Congress authorized $700 million in emergency funds … Before plans were finalized or even in draft form, the project was executing, albeit unplanned, activities.” That opened the door to a number of risks, including confusion as to who was doing what, when, and where; incohesive integration of project plans and indecision or hasty or wrong decisions. “The Phoenix Project mitigated these risks by maintaining frequent communication among the IPTs [integrated project teams]; reusing intellectual capital from similar projects; hiring subject matter experts; working long, laborious hours; simplifying the project to two objectives … and one constraint – make it look like it did Sept. 10, 2001,” the paper explained. Unusual for such a massive undertaking, the original budget was reduced to $501 million as new contract negotiations took into

The creation, approval, funding, and completion of the Phoenix Project matched the speed and effort of the original construction of the Pentagon, which, ironically, began on Sept. 11, 1941, and the world’s largest office building was completed, occupied, and fully functional only 17 months later. 109

account a revised estimate of the scope of the damage. At the same time, the project scope also was changed by the work breakdown structure, number of activities, and their durations. The DOD paper detailed the scope and complexity of the effort facing Phoenix Project planners and workers, logging and tracking 646 issues in the first month alone. The issues included: • Management of a schedule with 30,000 activities • Demolition of 400,000 square feet of structure and removal of 56,000 tons of contaminated debris • Fabrication and installation of a replacement limestone façade using 1941 drawings; 2.5 million pounds of limestone were fabricated and installed by June 11, 2002 • Three million man-hours were worked within an 11-month construction period, with only five single-day lost-work incidents • 21,000 cubic yards of concrete were poured and 3,800 tons of reinforcing steel placed • All of that was done while the post-9/11 war was organized and implemented in Southwest Asia. The missions of the various military agencies were changing daily, causing constant revisions to the program, system, furnishing and equipment requirements


• Heightened security restrictions were imposed for the hiring and site access of manpower A number of project management innovations were implemented to address those challenges: • Integrated project management through the use of integrated product teams allowed faster formation of the team, enhanced project team communications and tighter and more accurate integration of project plans • Time management through the development of an “ultra fast track” schedule enabled earlier installation of the exterior limestone and for multiple crews to work concurrently in the construction life cycle • Time management by issuing drawings while still under development to allow early material ordering and manpower planning • Procurement management through the use of a design-build project life cycle instead of a design-bid-build life cycle. Single design-and-build contracts were awarded at a fixed price • Procurement management through the use of a total systems performance responsibility contract. Contractors


Left: Rescue workers take a breath of fresh air near an entrance to the crash site at the Pentagon on Sept. 14, 2001. Damage to the Pentagon was caused when the hijacked American Airlines flight slammed into the building on Sept. 11. The terrorist attack caused extensive damage to the west face of the building and followed similar attacks on the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. Above: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld (left) receives an update on the status of the Pentagon reconstruction from Project Manager Walker Lee Evey on March 11, 2002. Rumsfeld marked the six-month anniversary of the terrorist attack on the Pentagon by visiting the site and speaking to the construction workers who were working nearly around the clock to finish the reconstruction by Sept. 11, 2002.




were responsible for meeting the objectives and functional requirements specified • Procurement management through the implementation of a fixed price, award fee, incentive fee (FPAFIF) contract. Contractors were financially motivated to perform desired project management, including completing the project on cost and on schedule To accomplish the objectives, according to the paper, the project team had to: • Establish a preliminary schedule • Scope the project • Integrate the project with ongoing PenRen activities • Gather cost/budget information • Develop contractual agreements with subcontractors and establish procurement agreements with suppliers • Perform a project risk analysis • Establish quality control/quality assurance standards for all phases of the project lifecycle • Develop an internal and external communications plan • Put in place a human resources plan to foster teamwork between all personnel • Deal with the emotional impact of the tragedy As noted in The Renovator Articles, the Pentagon Renovation Program’s bi-monthly newsletter: “More than 3,000 men and women put a year of their lives on hold to recover damaged office space twice the size of the U.S. Cap-

Workers prepare limestone to be placed on the facade of the Pentagon. The limestone was acquired from the quarries in Indiana where limestone had been acquired for the original construction in the 1940s.

itol Building. They hauled away more than 50,000 tons of debris. They demolished 400,000 square feet of office space and rebuilt it from the ground up. They replaced 4,000 pieces of the Pentagon’s historic limestone façade. They moved 4,600 personnel out of the Pentagon on Sept. 12, 2001, and by Sept. 11, 2002, had moved 3,000 people back in. They made the Pentagon whole again.” As the final pieces of limestone were set in place, a bronze box containing a condolence book, a presidential photo, and handmade sympathy cards written by children was sealed into the newly rebuilt facade. The capsule is not intended to be opened. According to the DOD’s PMI paper reviewing the Phoenix Project, the following team leaders are representative of the management staff responsible for the Project’s success: • Pentagon Renovation Program Manager Lee Evey • Program Renovation Deputy Program Manager Mike Sullivan • Project Managers Will Colston, Dave Gabel, and Jean Barnak • Deputy Project Manager Mike Yopp • Structural Lead Allyn Kilsheimer • Operations Manager Jack Kelly • Legal Advisor Andrew Blumenfeld • Project Engineers Jeff Foltz, Butch Wiles and Bill Sullivan • Design Coordinator Marc Gravalesse


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Above: In March 2002, construction crews continue work outside areas of the Pentagon damaged by the terrorist attack in Sept. 11. Right: After the Sept. 11 attack on the Pentagon, modifications were made to the existing renovation project. The addition of half corridors between rings of the Pentagon will provide more escape routes in case of an emergency. The glass causeways can withstand hurricane-force winds.


• • • • • • •

Contracting Officer Debbie Hoffman Lead Quality Assurance Manager Joe Cristofori Office Engineer Joe Constantine Scheduler Edwin Pickens Chief Estimator Rock Viner Administrative Staff, Misty Kelly Information Management & Telecommunications, Gary Gunther • Defense Protective Service Representative Tolly Prather • Safety, Flo Cleyman • Information and Communications, Brett Eaton In the first weeks of the rebuild, some 1,000 people worked three shifts, 24 hours a day, seven days a week to clear away the rubble. As the Phoenix Project progressed, the overall Pentagon renovation was expanded to address vulnerabilities exposed by the attack. For example, the new configuration allows building workers in the emergency operations center to close off water valves endangering computers, safeguarding them from conditions that nearly shut down the Pentagon after the attack.

The post-attack reconstruction validated the modern building standards under which the overall Pentagon renovation was being conducted. Many lives were saved in Wedge 1 due to the installation of blast-resistant windows, structural supports, and fire sprinklers. In addition, the amount of asbestos thrown into the air and subsequently covering much of the Pentagon was reduced by the 70,000 cubic yards of the toxic insulation hauled away during the first rebuild of Wedge 1. From the new Integrated Emergency Operations Center, Pentagon workers can monitor sensors scanning the building and its surroundings for any signs of a chemical, biological, or radiation attack, while screens on the walls display a constant series of images from 500 security cameras covering parking lots, corridors, and entrances, plus one showing the status of every fire alarm in the building (the so-called “legacy Pentagon” had few fire extinguishers).



The Phoenix Project made possible a massive leap from World War II-era equipment and building standards to 21st century digital technology capabilities and modern conveniences, such as the installation of 177 miles of cable tray to carry wiring throughout the structure and 70 passenger elevators replacing – or at least supplementing – the original stairways and ramps. Gloomy Depression-era institutional cafeterias were replaced with a two-story dining atrium of terrazzo, stainless steel, and glass, while the Center Court Café, with a menu including panini and quesadillas, has replaced the old center courtyard hot dog stand. The man in charge of PenRen for the project’s entire 17 years, including during the Phoenix Project, had a simple description for their stripping the structure to its concrete pillars and rebuilding it from the concrete slab base to the third level ceiling even as it continued to operate as headquarters for the world’s largest military force, 24 hours a day, every day: “We took the building apart and put it together again, with 20,000 people sitting in it … It’s like taking apart a black-andwhite TV and putting it back together again in color, without missing any of your favorite programs.”



Above: The beginning of the Pentagon Observance ceremony is seen held on Sept. 11, 2002. Left: American flags and other patriotic expressions decorate Juan Benavides’ hard hat. Benavides, a native of El Salvador, was one of the workers involved with Project Phoenix, the reconstruction of the area of the Pentagon destroyed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack.

Lights illuminate memorial benches at the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Aug. 22, 2016. The memorial is dedicated to the 184 souls lost in the terrorist attack at the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.





PENTAGON 9/11 Memorial

By J.R. Wilson


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e claim this ground in remembrance of the events of September 11, 2001, to honor the 184 people whose lives were lost, their families and all who sacrifice that we may live in freedom. We will never forget.” Those words are engraved on a black granite stone standing at the Memorial Gateway of the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, just outside the Pentagon, marking the time and date – 9:37 a.m. , Sept. 11, 2001 – when a hijacked airliner was deliberately crashed into the west side of the Department of Defense headquarters, killing 184 people aboard the plane and in the Pentagon (not counting the five al-Qaeda terrorists). The other side of the entry stone lists contributors to the memorial, including those involved in the design, construction, and private funding of the project. The stone also is the beginning of a 24-minute audio tour for visitors, which can be accessed by calling a number on their cellphones. On entering the memorial grounds, visitors cross the Zero Line – demarcating the separation between the Memorial Gateway and the remainder of the memorial – on which is inscribed the date and time of the crash. Beyond are parallel stainless steel age lines, the first physical tribute to the victims, running at a nearly 45-degree angle to the Pentagon along the flight path of the plane. Each line marks the age of a victim of the attack, and along each line stands a Memorial Unit to that casualty. Each Memorial Unit comprises an illuminated, cantilevered stainless steel bench inlaid with granite and engraved with the name of a victim, arching over a shallow reflecting pool of running water, lit from below. If more than one member of the same family died in the crash, the name of each family member is inscribed in the pool, as well

Above left: Herb Wolk (right) and his daughter, Devora Kirschner, reflect while sitting on a bench that serves as a memorial for Navy Lt. Darin Pontell before the 9/11 memorial ceremony at the Pentagon, Sept. 11, 2014. Kirschner was married to Pontell when he was killed during the attack on the Pentagon Sept. 11, 2001. Above right: Secretary of Defense James Mattis visits the Pentagon Memorial Chapel, Jan. 23, 2017.

as on their individual benches. The 2-acre memorial features 184 Memorial Units. The 125 benches dedicated to those who died inside the Pentagon are arranged so visitors reading the names will face the Pentagon’s south facade, where the plane hit; 59 benches honoring victims aboard the plane are arranged so those reading the engraved names will be facing skyward, along the path the plane traveled. While the benches have been arranged according to the victims’ ages, starting with 3-year-old Dana Falkenberg and running to Capt. John Yamnicky Sr., USN (Ret.), age 71, those ages also are reflected in a wall along the edge of the memorial, which begins at a height of 3 inches and rises to a height of 71 inches. In addition, 85 crape myrtle trees surround the benches. The water in the pools beneath each bench is turned off at 9:37 a.m. every day in a moment of silence commemorating the exact time of the crash. The National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial was opened to the public on Sept. 11, 2008, seven years after the attack. In his remarks at the ceremony, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said the memorial was an important element in bringing the nation together: “With this memorial, we pay our respects to the 184 souls, to the many who were injured, and to the families who still grieve.


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While no public display can make up for the injustice or lessen the pain of their losses, the one that we dedicate today binds all of America to the dead and their survivors. Your suffering and your solace, so personal to you, become the nation’s as well. From now on, the Pentagon is more than a symbol of government, more than the seat of military affairs: it is a place of remembrance.” The National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial was designed and constructed by architects Julie Beckman and Keith Kaseman and engineer Buro Happold. Although some 1,100 designs were submitted, on March 3, 2003, theirs was the unanimous choice of a jury comprising architects, family members of the deceased, and public figures from the greater Washington, D.C. area. Pentagon Memorial Fund Director and September 11 National Memorial Trail Board Member Thomas Heidenberger lost his

A U.S. soldier stands at a bench in the Pentagon Memorial during the 9/11 Observance Ceremony held at the Pentagon Memorial, Sept. 11, 2018.

wife, Michele, who was the lead flight attendant of Flight 77, on 9/11: “When one visits the memorial, one senses that they are in a place of American history, that they are in or on sacred ground. The memorial not [only] recognizes the sacrifice of the victims of 9/11, but also honors their memory and their lives with the memorial itself. The layout and representation of the benches and the reflecting pool under each bench, with the sound of rushing water, creates a place to remember our loved ones, to reflect on the sacrifice of so many, and to renew our commitment to continue with our lives.”



The Rosslyn neighborhood in Arlington seen in the 1980s. The Pentagon (seen at upper right in the distance) has an influence on the surrounding community both economically and culturally.


How the Pentagon Fits into Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C.

By Jan Tegler


estled along the southwest bank of the Potomac River in Arlington, Virginia, less than 3 miles across the water from the nation’s capital, is one of the world’s most famous institutions: the Pentagon. A symbol of American power globally, the five-sided building is also a nextdoor neighbor to Arlington’s 225,000 residents and the nearly 700,000 people who call Washington, D.C., home.

Renowned as it is, outsiders aren’t always aware that the Pentagon sits in Virginia, not Washington, D.C., says Christina Winn, director of business investment for Arlington Economic Development (AED). “It’s interesting: People know about the Arlington National Cemetery, but they don’t always know that the Pentagon is in Arlington,” Winn said. “One of our marketing pieces is kind of


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tongue-in-cheek: ‘Five Things You Know and Five Things You Don’t Know about Arlington.’ The No. 2 thing is ‘Our largest building has five sides.’” Bounded by the District of Columbia, Fairfax and Falls Church, Virginia, and the city of Alexandria, Virginia, Arlington County’s 26 square miles of land area make it the smallest self-governing county geographically in the United States. Almost 4.6 square miles of the county are federal property, including the 34 acres of land on which the Pentagon sits. Still the largest low-rise office building in the world, the Pentagon and its 26,000 military and civilian employees along with approximately 3,000 non-defense support personnel have a substantial tangible and intangible presence in the county. It’s a bit like a large ocean liner permanently sailing in its northern Virginia locale. “As an Arlington resident, I would say that your ship analogy isn’t that far off,” Emily Cassell, AED’s director of Arlington Convention & Visitors Service, agreed. “It is a big physical presence, but there’s also a constant awareness and respect for the fact that it is in the community.” That awareness is multi-faceted. Just blocks or minutes away, the Pentagon’s nearby neighbors recognize that decisions affecting America’s defense and global security are made within its huge contours daily. It’s a place where international news is made, where national policy is carried out, where a large chunk of the nation’s resources are marshaled and allocated – and a place where history takes shape. But the Pentagon is also local, a part of the fabric of the northern Virginia and D.C. communities that surround it. It’s a direct employer for thousands of residents in northern Virginia, the District, and Maryland, and a cultural hub for Arlington.

ECONOMIC IMPACT Finding numbers to assess the economic impact of the Pentagon on its neighbors is difficult. While state by state figures for military spending and economic impact reports for individual military installations are released periodically, the direct economic effects of the Pentagon on its local area are not tabulated. But it’s certain that the headquarters of America’s Department of Defense (DOD) makes a big difference in every aspect of the local economy. From the direct employment of nearly 30,000 workers and the clustering of DOD contractors and associated businesses in close proximity to the Pentagon to its significant influence on travel and tourism, the building’s influence is overarching. “It impacts just about everything,” said Marc McCauley, AED’s director of real estate development. “Our transportation network, our commercial office market with all of the contractors and other spill-over space that the DOD leases. The labor force here, generally 25 to 30 percent works for the federal government and a large share of that is DOD. It’s hard to gauge it precisely because of the transient nature of many of those who might work at the Pentagon. They might be here for six months or they’re here serving a tour.”

While many of those who work at the Pentagon may do so for a brief period – over a span of months or a tour – their time working at the institution or nearby may not be limited to a particular period.

A look at Arlington County’s “Profile 2018” offers some useful context for the Pentagon’s contribution to the local economy. According to the report, the county has an estimated 224,000 at-place employees. That’s a number nearly equal to the number of county residents. Pentagon employees represent more than one-seventh of the county workforce. Government employment in Arlington is pegged at 48,000 or 21.6 percent, with the Pentagon being the top public or private employer in the area. Professional and Technical Services is the largest industry in the county, accounting for 23.4 percent of jobs. Clearly, many of these are directly or indirectly associated with the Pentagon, with the number of workers in the sector tallying 52,500. The institution and the large and small firms that locate nearby to do business with it add considerably to Arlington’s exceptionally skilled workforce. More than 39 percent hold graduate or professional degrees, and 74 percent hold a bachelor’s degree. Median household income is listed at $110,388. According to the 2016 American Community Survey prepared by the U.S. Census Bureau, Arlington is the sixth highest income county in the United States. Unemployment was tabbed at just 2.5 percent in 2017. While many of those who work at the Pentagon may do so for a brief period – over a span of months or a tour – their time working at the institution or nearby may not be limited to a particular period. Some military members may return to the Pentagon for subsequent tours or assignments. Others may choose to stay and work in the area after leaving the military, McCauley notes, and that’s a boon to the local economy. “We focus a lot on the quality of our labor force,” he explained. “For several decades, things have been turning around. It used to be that if you got the companies, people would come to your area. Now it’s if you get the right people, companies will come. They will move to where people want to be. The military labor force is interesting in that people retire from the military so young but with a unique set of skills, a great work ethic, and specialized training. Those things relate well to transitioning to other types of employment.” That’s a “plus” for Arlington, McCauley said. “Some people may only think they’ll be here for a year while working at the Pentagon, but then they decide to stay here for the opportunities. The skills these people have are attractive to and attract a wide range of companies that want to come to the region.” Crystal City and Pentagon City, located just to the south and east of the Pentagon, are a good example of how the institution generates business in local communities. Home to a number of


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satellite offices for the Pentagon itself, Crystal City has hosted a range of defense contractors, including major players like Lockheed Martin. These days, the area is attracting a mix of technology companies, many with links to defense and the Pentagon. The Pentagon is also a magnet for travel and tourism, said Cassell. “We have about 7 million visitors per year to Arlington. That generates about $3.1 billion in visitor spending. Defense-related business travel is absolutely significant. For those folks coming here for defense-related business, we share with them what’s happening in Arlington and the D.C. region in hopes that they might separately bring their families here to enjoy the different aspects of our community and the capital region.” The presence of the Pentagon and a large federal workforce in Arlington and across the river in Washington, D.C., shields the area significantly from economic downturns that affect the rest of the nation. However, changes in government spending priorities, policy, and even politics that affect the defense sector do have an impact on the communities around the Pentagon – sometimes positively, sometimes negatively. “A really good example of that immediate impact was fall 2013, where we had the government shutdown, sequestration, and pretty significant cuts in agency spending, not just defense,” Winn remembered. “It was very concerning. The Pentagon drives a significant part of our travel business.” The Budget Control Act of 2011 led to the automatic spending cuts known as “sequestration.” Sequestration, which has had particularly sharp consequences for defense spending, began to affect the Pentagon and Arlington significantly in 2013. Military spending fell by $42.7 billion or 7.5 percent, amounting to nearly

Office buildings and hotels in downtown Arlington, Virginia. The presence of the Pentagon has an effect on the city’s commercial real estate market, its ability to draw new businesses to the area, and on travel and tourism.

half of the $85 billion in spending reductions Congress enacted in 2013. A government shutdown lasting 16 days followed later in the year, exacerbating the situation. “When things like lower defense spending, BRAC [base realignment and closure] or sequestration and corporate cutbacks happen, our vacancy [leased office space, hotels, etc.] has skyrocketed,” Winn said. Realizing its dependence on the DOD, the Pentagon, and the government economically, Arlington began to reevaluate its business footing in 2011, Winn recalled. “We started to look at emerging technology, sectors that actually complement our base. Cybersecurity is obviously a huge one which relates to defense. Our strategy has been to align with the momentum the Pentagon creates here.” Winn says the county is also endeavoring to recruit small data and technology companies before they grow too large. “We talk to them about the opportunities of being able to connect to the various staff at the Pentagon and other agencies that can help them get additional business.” McCauley points to changes in how money is being spent inside the Pentagon, moving more toward defending against growing threats like cyber attacks. “That’s bringing in contractors and economic sectors that aren’t just DOD contractors,” he said. “We don’t have facilities in Arlington where you can build a fighter jet, but we have plenty of office buildings where people can sit and write code,” McCauley said. “I think that shift






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Runners in the 30th Army Ten-Miler race take off from the starting line on Oct. 12, 2014. The Army Ten-Miler takes place every October, and starts and ends at the Pentagon.

helps us because of the nature of the work and the nature of the spending. “When you look at the Pentagon and shifts in defense spending, for us it’s much more nuanced than dollars and cents. The cutting of the B-1 bomber may not affect us at all, but increases in cybersecurity funding as well as shifting from government personnel to outsourcing can have a positive effect on our commercial real estate market because our contractors are growing.” Looking ahead, officials at Arlington Economic Development are aiming for even more business diversification. But they agree that the Pentagon and its workforce will continue to have a huge influence on the local economy and the way it grows moving forward. “When we win big deals at AED, it’s almost always about our local labor force – the quality of it and the supply of workers who can help companies quickly ramp up growth. Anecdotally, I think the presence of the Pentagon in particular has a lot to do with that,” McCauley concluded.

THE PENTAGON AND COMMUNITY CULTURE If you live in one of the communities surrounding the Pentagon, you cannot help but be aware of it. From helicopters that pass overhead daily shuttling important personnel to the huge

structure to the traffic associated with its workforce to the mere sight of it from any number of nearby points of the compass, the institution is a constant companion. “Many of us know people who work at the Pentagon, as contractors to the Department of Defense or in companies that are closely tied to defense-related work. If you’re anywhere near Rosslyn or Crystal City or Pentagon City, you see it and it registers,” Arlington resident Cassell said. Those who move to communities near the Pentagon from other parts of the United States often gain a new appreciation for the significance of the institution. “I’m a transplant to this region,” said Winn. “The thing that hit me that was so different to living somewhere else was that when you opened the newspaper, the national news was always something that happened someplace else. Here, the national news is at our front door. If you drive by the Pentagon, you realize there’s stuff happening in there that will make news nationally. But it’s local to us. It gives you a much different perspective than if you were living in Kansas or somewhere distant.” The Pentagon’s presence helps to attract many from “somewhere distant” to live and work in Arlington, giving its culture an international flavor. For a good illustration, look no further than the Arlington Public School system, which includes children who speak 107 languages and hail from 146 countries. AED’s Cassell, who once worked at the Pentagon as a contractor, points out that the Pentagon reservation is much like a sizeable town with a culture of its own. “I definitely felt there was a unique feeling as you entered the building, even if it was a routine of going through the process


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to get in each day and going to whatever office is a mile away,” she said. “I recall vividly numerous times where I would be walking through the building with senior military people from whatever service branch, and it would be like ‘old home week.’ They would run into people they hadn’t seen in 10 years in Korea or something. It was quite striking. It’s like a small city, and people would run into folks they had known in different parts of their careers.”

THE MARINE CORPS MARATHON, ROLLING THUNDER, AND THE ARMY TEN-MILER The neighborhood feeling extends beyond the institution’s walls. As a way of connecting with the communities that surround it, the Pentagon supports a number of notable events. Each October, a field of 30,000 runners begins the world-famous Marine Corps Marathon between the Pentagon and Arlington National Cemetery. Staged since 1976, the 26.2-mile run passes through Rosslyn and crosses over the Potomac on the Key Bridge into the nation’s capital on a loop past many of the city’s most famous landmarks. After crossing over the Potomac again on the 14th Street Bridge, runners pass the Pentagon once more on Boundary Channel Drive before crossing the finish line at the Marine Corps War Memorial. Since 1988, Rolling Thunder has drawn motorcyclists from across the nation to Washington, D.C., annually for a demonstration/protest to bring awareness and accountability for POWs and MIAs left behind. The highlight is Rolling Thunder’s First Amendment Demonstration Run. The Pentagon hosts thousands of bikers who rally in its parking lots for a Memorial Day ride that crosses the Potomac and follows a designated route through the Mall area of Washington, D.C. The Army Ten-Miler run has become nearly as well known as the Marine Corps Marathon. Begun in 1985, the Ten-Miler is also run in October. It attracts more than 35,000 runners including military, civilians, wheelchair athletes, and wounded warrior athletes. The 10-mile course starts and finishes at the

Left: Each Memorial Day, the Pentagon hosts bikers who rally in its parking lots for the annual Rolling Thunder demonstration ride. Right: Boxes of finisher medals at the 41st Marine Corps Marathon in 2016. The marathon begins between the Pentagon and Arlington National Cemetery, and the course takes runners past DOD headquarters before finishing at the Marine Corps War Memorial.

Pentagon, crossing the Potomac into Washington, D.C. , past historic sites including Arlington National Cemetery, the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. The Pentagon’s North Lot hosts a “Hooah Tent Zone” with more than 80 team-sponsored tents. U.S. military commands from around the world gather to support their teams, promote their mission, and promote their “Army Spirit.” Runners and spectators interact with soldiers, experience the esprit de corps, and enjoy the festive activities that the Hooah Tents offer post-race.

A MYTHICAL REALITY It’s hard to describe the feeling of living next door to a global landmark, Arlington residents say. For most of the world, the Pentagon is a faraway symbol of America. Locals not directly connected to their five-sided neighbor think of it only in passing. But not infrequently, they, too, are reminded of its importance. “The Pentagon is an entity like the White House, where pretty much everyone around the world has heard of it in some way,” said AED Public Relations Manager Cara O’Donnell. “It almost has this mythical quality. It’s something I think we, living here, take for granted. To see that enormous five-sided building that they’ve only perhaps read about in social studies textbooks is very interesting to visitors from out of town: ‘Oh, that’s really it, right there!’ “But this is the building where all of our major defense decisions are being made. That’s striking for visitors and for us.”


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Lost and Found Navigating the Pentagon By Eric Tegler

For your information, the Pentagon’s Lost and Found room is located in the Pentagon Library Conference Center (PLC2) – Room BH885. It’s a useful bit of trivia to have in hand if you work in the Pentagon, but it’s not as valuable as actually knowing where you are. People have been getting confused, crossed-up, and lost in the Pentagon throughout its 75-year history. On the day the building opened with less than half the structure completed, its first workers – called “plank walkers” because they had to balance their way on boards of lumber snaking across mud puddles to even get to the building – wandered the long corridors and office spaces, looking without success for their desks. That was in April 1942, but it began an unintentional custom that continues to this day.

The iconic structure has inspired countless objects, even other pentagonal buildings. In 2009, a 70-acre retail complex in Shanghai, China, modeled after the Pentagon was finished. The “Pentagonal Mart” cost $200 million to build. But from the start, shoppers were apparently hesitant to navigate its confines. The website Gizmodo reported that it quickly became the biggest vacant building in Shanghai, while China’s People’s Daily News cited its “location and its confusing inner structures” as the chief factors in its lack of appeal.


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“So, hands in pockets and trying to look as if I were out for a carefree stroll around the building, I walked,” Eisenhower later wrote. “I walked and walked, encountering neither landmarks nor people who looked familiar. One had to give the building his grudging admiration; it had apparently been designed to confuse any enemy who might infiltrate it.” Of course, the Pentagon wasn’t built to woo shoppers. It was constructed to be the locus of America’s World War II warfighting effort. Its design is purely functional, according to the “Navigating the Pentagon” page of the Office of the Secretary of Defense website: “Within the halls of the Pentagon are five concentric pentagonal rings, intersected by 10 corridors ... Despite the Pentagon’s massive size, the average time to walk between two points is only about seven minutes.” Seven minutes might be the average for a seasoned Pentagon employee or guide, but as former Washington Post Pentagon correspondent Steve Vogel pointed out, getting lost within its 34 acres is, and was, inevitable for anyone else. An oft-told joke about the Pentagon first appeared in the Washington Post on Aug. 17, 1942: “And have you heard this one? About the War Department messenger who got lost in the Pentagon Building in Arlington and came out a lieutenant colonel.” Multiple variations of the venerable gag have been repeated throughout the years, though the original may have been ringing in Army Chief of Staff Gen. George C. Marshall’s ears when he gave a tour of the building to Field Marshal Sir John Dill, chief of the British military delegation in Washington, in August 1942. The pair ambled down a corridor with the project’s chief architect and all three were soon entirely lost. A construction supervisor eventually tracked them down, ensuring that two of the Allies’ most important managers got back to the war effort. When Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower took his turn as Army Chief of Staff in 1946,

the Pentagon confounded him the first time he tried to return to his office by himself from the mess. “So, hands in pockets and trying to look as if I were out for a carefree stroll around the building, I walked,” Eisenhower later wrote. “I walked and walked, encountering neither landmarks nor people who looked familiar. One had to give the building his grudging admiration; it had apparently been designed to confuse any enemy who might infiltrate it.” As Vogel related, Eisenhower finally approached a group of female stenographers and quietly asked one, “Can you tell me where the office of the Chief of Staff is?” “You just passed it about a hundred feet back, Gen. Eisenhower,” she replied. The all-too-easy loss of one’s bearings has extended even further up the chain of command. When Dick Cheney became secretary of defense in 1989, he took the elevator from his office suite to the wrong floor and found himself lost in the Pentagon basement. After considerable wandering about, he returned to his office and a selection of nervous aides anxious to divine his whereabouts. Cheney just played it cool. “I sort of tightened my tie and walked out like I knew exactly where I was and arrived outside,” he later said. “Nobody had the nerve to ask me where I’d been.” A sign of the orienteering challenges presented by the Pentagon is evident in the transition information given to the new appointees that come with a new presidential administration. The incoming handbook for such appointees as part of the 2017 Department of Defense Transition has its own “Navigating the Pentagon” section. It’s all very straightforward,

according to the “How to Find a Room in the Pentagon” subsection: If you need to travel any distance inside the building, one of the best ways to move around is to walk to the A ring, continue walking on the A ring until you find the corridor you need, then walk on that corridor, crossing the other rings, until you reach the ring that you need. Otherwise, for example, if you try to circle around the building on the E ring to get to your location, you will be walking the long way around, since the outer E ring is the longest walking distance. Weather permitting, you can also cut across the Center Courtyard to decrease the walking distance. For example, Room 3B1075 means that the location is on the third floor, on the B ring, near the tenth corridor, room 75. The subsection points out that, rather like an airport, kiosks are conveniently located throughout the Pentagon featuring location and other related information about the facility. These may have come in handy for blogger and former Pentagon employee Mary El Pearce. In an entry for her blog “cupcakes and shoes” on her last working day at the Pentagon in 2012, she wrote about finding the not-so-mythical Purple Water Fountain. The Pentagon has 685 water fountains, all the same color save for one standout purple water fountain in the Air Force section of the building. No one knows the reason for the single purple water-giver, but over the years it became legend, complete with its own plaque. The text thereon recounts that “generations of Air Force leaders have made the pilgrimage to drink of its enlightening waters,” and that in 1985, the fountain was formally acknowledged as the only Air Force Pentagon navigational aid by then U.S. Air Force Director of Operations Maj. Gen. Harold Williams. “I once got lost looking for it,” Pearce recalled, “and I asked a man to help me. I was too busy trying to impress my friend who was with me to notice the two stars on his flight suit. He happily obliged us and I felt like a complete idiot once I realized who I was talking to.” Hers joins countless other stories of the great and anonymous, warriors and visitors, lost and found in the Pentagon.




The Pentagon Force Protection Agency’s (PFPA) Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Unit uses one of its robots to move a simulated suspicious package during a presentation in the Pentagon Center Courtyard. PFPA’s EOD team is one of the assets the agency has to respond to reported suspicious packages.


PROTECTING THOSE WHO PROTECT THE NATION The Pentagon Force Protection Agency By Eric Tegler


he notion that the United States military needs protection is not one that routinely pops up in the popular imagination. But the need to protect the people who protect America is a reality, nowhere more so than at the nerve center of the armed forces. As its history demonstrates, the Pentagon is the ultimate command and control center, a news-maker, policy-generator, political football, landmark, and symbol of the nation. Its role in American and world affairs brings with it the attention of those who would aim to disturb, disrupt, or destroy it. But every day, the Pentagon draws a vastly greater number of Americans and guests of America who simply wish to visit and better understand the international icon. They too need assistance and protection, and their interest is equally vital to the men and women who protect the institution: the Pentagon Force Protection Agency (PFPA).

FROM GENERAL SERVICE TO FORCE PROTECTION PFPA oversees the daily protection and safety of a population of about 26,000 military, Department of Defense (DOD) civilians, and contractors on the Pentagon Reservation. Its work goes on in the midst of the greater Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, home to approximately 6.1 million people, according to the 2016 U.S. Census. Like the D.C. metro area population, the number of people dedicated to securing the Pentagon has expanded dramatically over 75 years. But as their numbers have grown, their focus has changed. When the federal General Services Administration (GSA) was established in 1949 it, in turn, established the United States Special Policemen (USSP) to protect and secure a variety of institutions in Washington, D.C., and the Pentagon. Initially, USSP managed and executed a relatively straightforward “guard-watchman” operation at the Pentagon‚ focusing on the protection of property. As the Pentagon grew in stature and American foreign policy gained increasing attention in the decades that followed, the building became a tourist attraction in its own right, drawing crowds to its grounds and inner courtyard.


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Paramedics from Fairfax County, Virginia, Fire and Rescue move a casualty from a gurney to a stretcher for transportation to a local hospital during Exercise Gallant Fox outside of the Pentagon. The purpose of Gallant Fox was to enable the Pentagon Force Protection Agency (PFPA) to exercise emergency response units in a real world scenario and provide valuable training for PFPA to better serve occupants of the Pentagon.

The Pentagon Reservation also became the scene of a variety of increasing public free-speech and clandestine actions. With the United States’ increasing commitment of resources and forces to the Vietnam War came public opposition. In October 1967, approximately 35,000 antiwar protesters gathered at the Lincoln Memorial and marched across the Memorial Bridge toward the Pentagon. They were met by more than 2,000 federal troops and USSP personnel in and around the building. When the crowd pressed toward the structure, soldiers repelled them with tear gas and fixed bayonets. The protest and associated clashes continued overnight with many arrests. However, there were no deaths and not a single shot was fired. The antiwar movement continued to ferment, and in May 1972 a group called the Weather Underground placed a bomb in a women’s restroom inside the Pentagon. It detonated at 1:00 a.m. No one was injured and the $75,000 of damage done was relatively minor, but viewed through 21st century eyes, it is arguably the first high-profile act of terrorism against the Pentagon. The Weather Underground bombing, protests, and other incidents forced the GSA to take another look at Pentagon security. The existing focus on protection of property was expanded to

include comprehensive protection of the Pentagon Reservation and its personnel. The change was manifest with the establishment of the Federal Protective Service (FPS) in 1971. FPS continued the USSP Pentagon mission with the new, expanded emphasis. The next reorganization came in 1987 when GSA Administrator Terence Golden delegated authority for protecting the Pentagon Reservation to the Department of Defense. DOD established the Defense Protective Service (DPS) – a new element within the Washington Headquarters Service (WHS) – to carry out the mission. DPS also took on security responsibilities beyond the 280acre Pentagon Reservation, overseeing other DOD activities and facilities within the National Capital Region. During the early 1990s‚ the various security and security-related functions located within WHS were transferred to the DPS. Pentagon renovations begun in the mid-1990s were nearly complete when a hijacked American Airlines (Flight 77) Boeing 757 slammed into the Pentagon’s first-floor west wall on Sept. 11, 2001. The Pentagon portion of the worst terrorism attack in American history took place 70 years to the day after construction of the building was begun in 1941. By May 2002, reconstruction was well underway. Anthrax incidents in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks shook the Pentagon workforce still further. In light of these, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz established the Pentagon Force Protection Agency as a DOD agency under the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). The new agency absorbed and replaced DPS, taking on and further broadening its role of providing law enforcement and security for the Pentagon. Law enforcement remains a core mission of PFPA, but the agency also handles operations security‚ building surveillance‚


A member of the Pentagon Force Protection Agency is decontaminated during an exercise at the Pentagon on Wednesday, May 17, 2006. During Exercise Gallant Fox 06, officials from Washington, D.C., area fire, emergency medical service, and police departments; military members; and members of the Pentagon Force Protection Agency participated in the exercise, which included decontamination and medical processing of victims of a simulated anthrax attack at the Pentagon.

crisis prevention‚ consequence management‚ counterintelligence‚ antiterrorism‚ Hazmat and explosives‚ protection of high-ranking DOD officials‚ information technology, and administrative issues.


THE WORK BEHIND THE WELCOME One of the most remarkable and admirable aspects of the Pentagon is that American citizens and guests of the country are welcome to visit it. The same cannot be said of most national military headquarters around the world. But the openness of American society and its relation to the military demand that this privilege be maintained. It’s an immensely valuable feature of all that the Pentagon stands for. You can think of the Pentagon Force Protection Agency as the team that makes it possible. It’s a team that has grown dramatically since 2002. PFPA started life with 340 employees. Today, more than 1,200 PFPA personnel work 24 hours a day to defend the Pentagon’s personnel‚ facilities‚ and infrastructure – and to ensure that Americans can see it up close. The agency is organized under a single overall director and four subsidiary directors who oversee directorates ranging from police and protective services to antiterrorism force protection. Jonathan H. Cofer is the director for the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, a position he assumed in November 2016 after serving nine years previously as the deputy director. Prior to his

tenure at PFPA, Cofer served as the chief, Advanced Concepts and Technology Demonstration Division at the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). Basically, he was responsible for ensuring the development and rapid fielding of information technology to the warfighter. Cofer also served as the chief of staff of the Defense Security Service, where he oversaw the protection of U.S. and foreign classified information and technology as well as security professional education and development for DOD civilians and contractors. A retired U.S. Army brigadier general, Cofer served as a military police officer for more than 30 years, with assignments including command of a 2,000-strong Army, Marine, and Air Force security and police force. As PFPA director, Cofer is the DOD’s principal liaison with state and local authorities, and communicates directly with DOD components and other executive departments and agencies in carrying out his responsibilities. These include not only protection of the people and infrastructure of the Pentagon but also other DOD-occupied facilities in the National Capital Region. As such, Cofer works collaboratively with a host of other federal law enforcement and force protection organizations within the region. PFPA has four subsidiary directors of law enforcement, security integration and technology, threat management, and mission integration. Their authorities extend over directorates beginning with the Pentagon Police Department (PPD). The Pentagon police have exclusive jurisdiction within the Pentagon Reservation and share concurrent jurisdiction with other police agencies in an area of approximately 275 acres around the complex. Arlington County, Virginia, also gives Pentagon Police officers conditional police authority throughout Arlington County. Pentagon police officers are federal law enforcement officers, appointed under Title 10 Section 2674. They receive their initial training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers in Glynco, Georgia. They welcome visitors overtly and subtly by checking identification, credentials, and personal items, assisting visitors and their sponsors to various designated areas or offices. They patrol the reservation perimeter, facilitate the flow of vehicular and foot traffic, and when problems or incidents arise, they respond to the scene, coordinating their activity with other directorates. The Anti-Terrorism Force Protection (AT/FP) Directorate advises Pentagon leaders on AT/FP threats, analyzing and disseminating threat information across the Pentagon. The directorate develops AT/FP contingency plans and perhaps most crucially, conducts antiterrorism training for all Pentagon and OSD workers. AT/FP Level 1 antiterrorism awareness training covers incidents that have taken place and provides insight about terrorist groups that operate in the Pentagon and national capitol area. Given to the tens of thousands of DOD military and civilians at the Pentagon, it not only equips employees to deal with a crisis situation, it effectively crowdsources their ability to recognize anomalies in day-to-day affairs and present information to AT/ FP for analysis or action.


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(Left to right) Joseph Odom, facility antiterrorism officer, meets with Pentagon Force Protection Agency antiterrorism integrated vulnerability assessment team members Walter Jones and Howard Gillespie, along with Linwood Barrett, PFPA’s facility antiterrorism officer, to discuss vulnerabilities of the Pentagon executive motor pool, March 23, 2011.

Spotting anomalies is also central to PFPA’s Force Protection Technology Directorate (FPTD) and Security Services Directorate (SSD). The former manages the agency’s computers and networks as well as its sensors and security alarms. FPTD also operates the extensive network of computerized locks that control building access. A segment of its work is administrative, but as its responsibilities suggest, FPTD is keenly attuned to cyber and electromagnetic interference threats, as well as sensor detection of physical activity. The SSD issues Pentagon building passes. It operates all barriers and gates that control access on the Pentagon campus. It reviews all requests from people to take pictures of the Pentagon. When an incident or act of crime does arise, the Criminal Investigations & Protective Directorate (CIPD) investigates the matter within the jurisdiction of the agency. PFPA special agents are tasked with responsibility for such criminal investigations. The agents also provide protection during visits by foreign ministers of defense to the United States. Other visits, designated by OSD, enjoy the PFPA special agent protection as well. CIPD’s Operations Section is responsible for coordinating protection missions and providing around-the-clock support for field agents. Those include agents in the Protective Services Unit (PSU),

which provides support for the OSD and the chairman and vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon building. Police officers assigned to PSU cover protection for special events on the Pentagon Reservation, like the dedication of the 9/11 memorial. The officers also provide residence security in hotels while traveling with high-risk personnel both inside and outside of the United States. The Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear, Directorate (CBRN) guards the Pentagon and other nearby DOD facilities against possible attacks, maintaining timely threat intelligence. CBRN also monitors the environment at the Pentagon and DOD installations to make sure such hazards are not present. CBRN personnel get the call when a suspicious item is found, bomb experts (often with dogs from the Police Canine Division) are sent to examine and sometimes to destroy the item. All Pentagon mail and deliveries are checked by CBRN at the Remote Delivery Facility. Multiple technologies are used to screen incoming mail and packages, including all overnight deliveries for possible hazards. Every day, the CBRN screens an average of 3,900 pieces of cargo that includes USPS mail, packages, and parcels as well as concessionaire items, such as food and flowers. Approximately 800,000 pieces of mail and 75,000 commercial parcels are screened annually. In addition to checking incoming material, PFPA is responsible for destroying classified materials. Not surprisingly, a large proportion of the documents, files, and illustrations in use at the Pentagon are classified in nature. Disposing of materials no longer in use or otherwise redundant to ensure they don’t fall into the wrong hands is a critical task.


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Above: Then-Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta is saluted as he arrives for the Pentagon Force Protection Agency’s 10-year anniversary celebration at the Pentagon May 2, 2012. The agency was established in response to 9/11 and the October 2001 anthrax attacks. Right: Retired U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. William Kyle Carpenter, center, poses for a photo with Pentagon Force Protection Agency and Arlington County Police Department officers outside Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Washington, D.C., June 16, 2014. Carpenter received the Medal of Honor from President Barack Obama during a ceremony at the White House on Thursday, June 19, 2014.

Just as critical is coordinating the monitoring and security functions of various PFPA components in real time. That responsibility falls to PFPA’s Integrated Emergency Operations Center (IEOC), the locus of agency awareness and coordination at any time of day, 24/7. In 2011, Integrated Emergency Operations Center assistant supervisor Patrick Meister offered insight into some of the behindthe-scenes action at the IEOC. “We have cameras throughout the Pentagon, so any time an event happens on the reservation, I can record it for evidence, or monitor it for officer safety, or ask for backup,” he said. The IEOC also monitors emergency management communications for the Washington area and can use that system to reach out to the 200 emergency response agencies in the region. “We also monitor [Federal Aviation Administration] communications, so we can listen to aircraft that are coming our way,” he added. “These are all capabilities we didn’t have on 9/11.”

The IEOC watch team includes a section from PFPA’s CBRN directorate. CBRN has a variety of chemical, biological, and radiological sensors internally and externally on the reservation (known as the SENTRY Warning & Decision Support System). If any of these is triggered, an alert will be actuated on IOEC monitors. The team will then follow a set of protocols for notifying PFPA/Pentagon command and control leadership. The center also monitors the vast array of physical alarms in Defense Department-leased facilities throughout the National Capital Region, a task that significantly increases its workload. A quarterly exercise gathers all key PFPA directorates and offices around a table to walk through a scenario and discuss how they would respond to given situations. The scenarios examined and the discussion they generate can reveal gaps in antiterrorism awareness, force protection, and planning. Exercises, including large-scale casualty event simulations, are ongoing at the Pentagon throughout the year. These are often visible from the roads around the Pentagon Reservation. That visibility is a reminder that PFPA never takes a day off and that its vigilance is a central piece of the work behind the welcome to the Pentagon. There’s one more little-known but highly symbolic element of the agency’s work.

FLYING THE FLAG Ordinary (and extraordinary) Americans can request that an American flag of their own possession may be flown over the Pentagon. The request may be made to fly the flag on a certain date to honor a retirement, birthday, or other significant event. PFPA makes it possible and is the agent through which such a request can be made. Visit www.pfpa.mil/services/flagpnt.html After flying, the flag is returned to the individual(s) who sent it. It is perhaps the ultimate symbolic privilege given to all Americans by the men and women protecting those who protect the nation.






By Eric Tegler


entagon tour guides are hearty people. Selected competitively from the ceremonial guards of all five branches of the services, they not only have to know a startling array of facts about the Pentagon, they also have to be able to walk backward without a second thought. When you take a Pentagon tour, your military guide will face you the entire time, walking backward as you walk forward through the halls of one of the world’s most recognizable buildings. Pentagon tour guides give several tours a day and in the process, walk 2 to 3 miles backward using lighting fixtures and fire extinguishers as guideposts. All that rearward locomotion is worth it. The Pentagon tour program hosts more than 106,000 visitors annually, and gives seven tours every weekday. Despite the strict security requirements necessary, the popularity of taking a tour of the iconic building is evident not only from the numbers but from their testimony by word of mouth and online. Pentagon tours are among the highest rated on the popular travel site TripAdvisor.com, whose reviews give the visits four out of five stars. Most reviews single out the tour guides for their professionalism, knowledge, and humor. As the guides walk you though the corridors, relating one interesting tidbit after another, it becomes obvious that their unconventional gait is just another form of progress. As has been the case for 75 years at the Pentagon, the direction is always forward – even if that sometimes means going backward.

THE SHAPE OF A PENTAGON TOUR If asked what a Pentagon tour is like, you could be snarky and say “pentagonal.” True, the structure is five-sided, but that won’t be your focus as you wend through portions of one of the world’s largest office buildings. Even though you certainly won’t be walking all 17 miles of hallway therein, you’ll get an impression of the immensity of the place. For reference, the Pentagon has three times the floor space of the Empire State Building in New York. The national Capitol Building could fit into any one of its five wedge-shaped sections. That doesn’t even convey the impression one gets of the broader Pentagon Reservation. You can arrive via nearly 30 miles of access highways, including express bus lanes. Alternately, one can visit by using the Washington D.C. Metro – one of the most extensive subway systems in the country.

(From left) Vietnam veterans Bill Norman, Ray Hildreth, and Joe Kosoglow, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Platoon, Charlie Company, visit the Hall of Heroes at the Pentagon, Washington D.C., Aug. 22, 2017. The veterans were visiting the National Capital Region in honor of the 50-year anniversary of the presentation of the Medal of Honor to Gunnery Sgt. Jimmie Howard for actions at the battle of Hill 488 during the Vietnam War.


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The vista above ground includes 200 acres of lawn and pavement on which approximately 8,770 cars park in 16 parking lots. Then there are the thoroughfares inside the building. Some 131 stairways and 19 escalators link the corridors along which a beehive of offices occupies 3,705,793 square feet. Size has always struck visitors to our national defense headquarters. Surprisingly, the formal public tours program wasn’t launched until May 17, 1976. A June 1, 1976 article in The New York Times laconically announced that, “with a lack of fanfare, the Pentagon has relaxed its security for the first time in four years to let Bicentennial tourists visit the famous office building.” About 200 visitors per day were accommodated. It was supposed to be a merely temporary feature, expected to run through July 4 of that year. But prospective tour groups just kept coming. A snippet in the June 1977 edition of the Marine Corps magazine Leatherneck reads: “Approximately 55,000 American and foreign visitors toured the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., during the 1976 Bicentennial year. As a result of the enthusiastic response from visitors, the tour program will continue.” Support for the tours, both from within and without the Pentagon, was so strong that they were made a permanent fixture. By July 1996, the Pentagon had welcomed its 2 millionth visitor and broken an all-time annual visitor record in December of that same year. By 2012, 3 million had toured the building. The tour format has changed somewhat over the years. A 1982 article in The New York Times explained that contemporary tours began with a film detailing some of the early history of the Pentagon. Today, the tour begins at the Pentagon Visitor Center, which includes a gift shop and restrooms you’ll likely want to avail yourself of before setting off with the tour group and guide. Visitors cannot return to the Visitor Center once the tour has finished. The tour route is approximately 1.5 miles in length and takes about 60 minutes to walk, with the group constantly in motion. Contrary to what you might imagine, there is no set route. Tours vary with security considerations, construction, or time restraints. Guides are aware of these factors and tailor the tours

The Marine Corps Reserve Centennial wall display stands completed at the Pentagon, Sept. 28, 2016. The exhibit was installed at the Pentagon in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the Marine Corps Reserve.

to suit whatever constraints may exist. However, they have the latitude to take visitors through such a multitude of sections that there’s always something interesting to see. Naturally, there are common highlights. One of these is the America’s Heroes Memorial, which commemorates the 9/11 attack of 2001. The damage done by the airliner that was flown into the Pentagon required demolition and reconstruction of the three outer rings of five floors on the west side of the building. The memorial is located in the vicinity of 1E438, the pinpoint location where American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the structure. It opened in September 2002, and includes a book of photographs and biographies of the victims. It also includes five large black acrylic panels that honor the 184 victims of the crash. One panel displays the Purple Heart medal awarded to military members killed in the attacks; another shows the medal given to civilians. Two back-wall panels are etched with the victims’ names and a center panel bears tribute statements. Pencils and commemorative tracing paper are available, so that visitors can make rubbings of the names. A small chapel adjacent has stained glass windows with patriotic designs. Visitors will likely see the Hall of Heroes. Located on the main concourse, it was opened on May 14, 1968. Along the walls of the room the names of each of the 3,400-plus recipients of the Medal of Honor from all service branches are arranged for recognition. Some have an asterisk denoting service members who received two Medals of Honor for two separate acts of bravery. Ceremonies for new recipients of the Medal of Honor are held there, as are other award ceremonies. The Navy Reflection Room may be on the tour as well. Before 9/11, it was the site of the Navy Operations Center, destroyed


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during the attack. Opened on Sept. 11, 2003, the memorial features a large stone monolith, donated by the Pentagon Renovation Program, bearing the header “Lest We Forget” and the names of the Navy family members being commemorated. Inscribed in an adjacent wall is an excerpt from World War I poet Laurence Binyon’s “For the Fallen.” Nearby is a limestone reflection bench, also donated by the Pentagon Renovation Program. The corridors of the building are chock-full of smaller exhibits that you’ll pass as you stride along behind your agile guide. The corridor exhibits typically showcase various aspects of military life and history. Some highlight U.S. military cooperation with the militaries of other countries. One example is the Australia, New Zealand, and United States (ANZUS) corridor, which focuses on U.S. military cooperation and security friendship. Corridor exhibits change routinely, but you’ll generally come across exhibits associated with a particular service branch (Air Force, Coast Guard, etc.) or more broadly with the Office of the Secretary of Defense or Joint Chiefs of Staff. A sprinkling of these might include subject matter ranging from the Buffalo Soldiers to important career civil servants, defense humanitarian relief, the Korean War 60th anniversary, or the last-known veterans of World War I, Army flags and streamers, Air Force art, or presidents in naval service. You’ll hear bits about each of these as well as other pieces of information about life and work in the Pentagon from your guides. They know the subjects well, having had to pass stringent tests, including memorizing 33 pages of information verbatim. All volunteers, the guides come from military units across the National Capital Region like the Army’s “Old Guard” 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment. They give tours to the general public, corporate and veterans groups, or high-strung school children. They also take celebrities and dignitaries through the Pentagon, from the stars of TV’s Duck Dynasty to the prime minister of Australia. They literally keep it moving, walking the group through the exhibit spaces (with an occasional pause) throughout the tour. The motion makes for an efficient tour and aligns with the tour mechanics visitors should know beforehand.

Left: Navy Seaman Shakeem Serville gives a guided tour to USS Arizona survivors, seated, at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, July 17, 2017. The Arizona was attacked at Pearl Harbor at the beginning of World War II. Right: Professional mixed-martial artist Paige VanZant pauses for a moment in the Pentagon 9/11 America’s Heroes Exhibit during a visit to the Pentagon before departing on the annual Vice Chairman’s USO Tour, April 20, 2018.

THE PRACTICALITIES OF A PENTAGON TOUR Every tour starts well in advance of actually showing up at the Pentagon. To take a tour, you must book reservations between 90 and 14 days in advance of the tour date. U.S. citizens can reserve a tour online (https://pentagontours.osd.mil/Tours/ tour-selection.jsp) or by contacting their congressional or Senate representative. Foreign residents must contact their embassy to reserve a tour. If you’re booking a group, keep in mind that group size cannot exceed 60 people. Tours are free and conducted Monday through Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Friday from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Tours are not given on weekends or federal holidays. When you submit your reservation request, you’ll have to provide information and identification. The name of the group, the number of persons in it, the date and time the tour is requested, and the name and phone number of the person requesting the tour will be required. For visitors 18 and over, one form of current I.D. with photograph is necessary. Acceptable types of identification include: • U.S. Passport • U.S. Passport Card • Driver’s license or identification card issued by a state or outlying possession of the United States, provided it contains a photograph and meets the REAL ID standards • Identification card issued by federal, state, or local government agencies, provided it contains a photograph


• U.S. government Personal Identity Verification (PIV)/Common Access Card (CAC) • DOD-affiliated identification cards (retirees, dependents, and inactive reservists) • Native American tribal document • U.S. Border Crossing Card • Permanent Resident Card or Alien Registration Receipt Card (INS Form I-551) • Foreign passport with a temporary (I-551) stamp or temporary (I-551) printed notation on a machine-readable immigrant visa • Foreign passport If a visitor is 17 years of age or under, no identification is necessary when accompanied by an adult with a DOD building pass or one of the above forms of identification. Getting to the Pentagon is possible either by car or mass transit. The latter is most convenient, because there is no public parking at the Pentagon. Taking the Washington, D.C. Metrorail to the Pentagon Metro Station – via either the blue or yellow lines – is relatively straightforward. The security check-in for Pentagon Tours is adjacent to the Metro station exit at the Pentagon Visitor Center. Bus lines service the Pentagon as well, dropping passengers in the vicinity of the Metro station/Visitor Center. By car, you’ll need to drive to Arlington, Virginia, across the Potomac River from downtown Washington, D.C., and just to the south of Arlington National Cemetery. Visitors can park at the Pentagon City Mall and walk approximately 10-15 minutes to the


FORWARD When you take a Pentagon Tour, you not only gain an appreciation for the history and tradition that have developed within the nerve center of the Department of Defense, you can begin to understand the immense scope and complexity of activity undertaken there. You also join a much larger group of notable, and notably curious, people who took it upon themselves to get a first-hand look at the icon that is the Pentagon. If its past is prelude, many millions more will come forward to visit in the future.


Then-Secretary of Defense Ash Carter speaks with Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx as he gives him a tour of the Pentagon during a visit July 1, 2016.

entrance through a pedestrian tunnel. The area can be confusing, so it’s wise to allot plenty of time to find your way to the Visitor Center. Pentagon Tours would like you to arrive at the Pentagon Metro entrance 60 minutes prior to your scheduled tour to allow time for your group (or the group you find yourself with) to process through building security. Mid-day is generally a good time to schedule a tour, with less demand and attendant traffic congestion. You’ll need to present a copy of your tour confirmation email and identification for each group member to the Pentagon Police personnel. Once you have cleared security, proceed into the building and turn left to find the Pentagon Tours window, located inside the Pentagon Visitor Center in the visitor waiting area. All tours check in at the Pentagon Tours window, and if your group neglects to do so prior to your scheduled time, your tour may be canceled. At the conclusion of the tour, all guests will exit the building. Comfortable clothing and shoes are highly recommended. There is ramp access for visitors with disabilities, and visitors in wheelchairs must be accompanied by someone who will assist them. Sign language facilitators can be added to tours to assist hearing-impaired visitors, provided that two weeks’ notice is given. Special tours can be arranged for visually impaired visitors with the same notice. The Pentagon Tour is presented in English. However, translation is permitted for tour groups that bring approved translators with them. Plan to etch the tour in your mind, since no photographs are permitted and recording devices, video, or audio, are prohibited. There’s a security briefing prior to the beginning of every tour, and all visitors must pass through a security scanning device similar to those found at airport security checkpoints. Mobile phones are allowed, but can’t be used for photos or recording. There are extensive commercial food/eatery facilities in the Pentagon, but visitors are not allowed to partake unless formally sponsored by a Pentagon civilian or military employee. Better to have a bite before or after you leave. Once you do exit the building, there’s more to see on the Pentagon Reservation, including the outdoor National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, which is open 24/7 free of charge. Visitors commonly attest to how moving it is. There’s also the Air Force Memorial honoring the millions of men and women who have served in the U.S. Air Force and its predecessor heritage organizations, from the U.S. Signal Corps to the U.S. Army Air Forces.

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The Pentagon 75 Years: The Building. The People. The Institution. 1943 - 2018