The Army’s cyber command facility with a Star Trek-inspired showroom may be falling apart

November 7, 2013

U.S Cyber Command and NSA chief Keith B. Alexander (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Army Times reports that the U.S. Army Cyber Command is looking to build new facilities, because their current operations base is basically falling apart. Fort Gordon, Ga., and Fort Meade  -- also home of the National Security Agency -- are reportedly the front-runners.

The proposed facility would be a 179,000-square-foot command center that could accommodate 1,500 people --  triple the current workforce. Army Cyber Command is a three-year-old organization that falls under the U.S. Cyber Command umbrella. Right now, 156 of its employees work in four locations throughout Fort Meade, while 343 of them work in Fort Belvoir.

Fort Belvoir features an "Information Dominance Center " designed by a Hollywood set designer to mimic the bridge of the starship Enterprise from Star Trek, complete with chrome panels, computer stations, a huge TV monitor on the forward wall and doors that make a "whoosh" sound when they slid open and closed, according to Shane Harris at Foreign Policy. It even features a leather "captain's chair" where visitors liked to sit and pretend to be Jean-Luc Picard.

But it sounds like Fort Belvoir isn't doing so hot. An environmental assessment from August running over various expansion proposals said "existing facilities are in poor condition and do not meet  current standards and safety requirements, including building construction, fire protection, and electrical codes." A call to Army Cyber Command about the fate of the Information Dominance Center in the event that a new command center is built was not immediately returned.

The assessment also notes that while renovations to the current facilities might be able to accommodate existing the Army Cyber Command workforce, that alternative "would not provide space for the increase in ARCYBER personnel" expected.

Current NSA and U.S. Cyber Command Chief Keith B. Alexander is expected to step down early next year. It's unclear if his departure will result in the separation of Cyber Command from the NSA Director position.

Correction: An earlier version of this post attributed the original story to Defense One instead of Army Times. We regret the error. 

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government.
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