31 July 2009
NSA could add thousands of jobs to Fort Meade area
By Jamie Smith Hopkins
Baltimore Sun

The National Security Agency could be adding thousands of jobs as it revs up plans to build a new complex near its Anne Arundel County headquarters.

The secretive agency, which did not immediately respond to requests for comment Friday afternoon, wants to build 5.8 million square feet over 20 years on Fort Meade land. NSA detailed the plans in a notice published in the Federal Register this month, reported today by The Baltimore Business Journal..

NSA said in the notice that the new space would house as many as 11,000 employees. But it did not say how many of the jobs would be newly created as opposed to moved from older buildings.

Robert C. Leib, Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold's special assistant for BRAC, said he expects significant job growth. The county had already anticipated that NSA would add about 4,000 jobs in the next four or five years, and this plan suggests to Leib that more might be coming.

NSA, based on Fort Meade and visible to commuters passing by on Route 32, confirmed in 2005 that it was working on plans to move some of its most sensitive surveillance operations to the center of the Army base for security's sake. Its notice to the federal government appears to be new details of that plan, though it hinted at expansion.

The agency said in that notice that it needs to develop "a modern operational complex" to "meet mission growth requirements." That includes consolidating some efforts being done at other agencies, it said.

The announcement comes as the county is preparing for an influx of jobs and people from BRAC. The military base realignment and closure process is sending jobs to Fort Meade from elsewhere in the country, particularly Northern Virginia.

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