Home to Department of Defense Headquarters, the Pentagon is one of the world's largest office buildings. It is located in Arlington, VA, right across the Potomac River from Washington, DC. The Pentagon is virtually a city in itself with over 23,000 employees, both military and civilian, assigned. It has 200 acres of lawn, 16 parking lots, 131 stairways and 19 escalators, a number of food and shopping vendors, dry cleaners and banking facilities. The building has approximately 17.5 miles of corridors.
The National Capital Region (NCR) is a high cost of living area. Many people choose to live further away in Virginia or Maryland and commute to work at the Pentagon. Pentagon Operator: 703-697-1201, DSN: 312-227-1201.
For more specific information on working at the Pentagon, visit their homepage.
The Pentagon was conceived at the request of Brigadier General Brehon B. Sommervell, Chief of the Construction Division of the Office of the Quartermaster General, on a weekend in mid-July 1941. The purpose was to provide a temporary solution to the War Department’s critical shortage of space. Congress, cautious about the size of the expenditure and the enormity of the project, but anxious about events in Europe and the Far East that could require U.S. military intervention, appropriated the funds necessary to construct the War Department’s new home (approximately $83 million) on August 14, 1941. The groundbreaking ceremony took place on September 11, 1941.
The Pentagon is the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense (DoD). As a symbol of the U.S. military, the “Pentagon” is often used metonymically to refer to DoD rather than the building itself. It is the largest office building by floor area.
The Pentagon houses approximately 23,000 military and civilian employees and approximately 3,000 non-defense support personnel.
The use of public transportation in Washington is recommended as on-street parking is limited and traffic is often heavy. There is also a wait list for parking permits. As incentive for using public transportation, the National Capital Region has a mass transit benefit program that provides Federal workers up to $230 a month to help offset the cost of using public transportation to commute to work.
Washington, DC has an extensive subway system and has a stop at the Pentagon. It serves the entire District of Columbia plus the most populous Maryland and Virginia suburbs. The Metrorail runs from 5:00 a.m. (weekdays), 7:00 a.m. (weekends) to approximately midnight (Sunday-Thursday), 3:00 a.m. (Friday-Saturday). The time between trains varies from 3 to 20 minutes depending on the time of day and the rail line involved.
The fare for a trip is based on time of day (rush hour vs. non-rush hour) and the departure and destination station combination.
To reach the Pentagon via the public MetroRail system, take either the yellow or blue line to the Pentagon stop. Exit the Metro and take the escalator up to the Pentagon entrance. For Metrorail map and more information, visit the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority website.
Virginia Railway Express
Crystal City and Union Station are both served by Virginia Rail Express (VRE). There are two lines, one serving Fredericksburg to the south and the other serving Manassas to the west. Schedule and fare information can be obtained by calling 703-684-1001 and also from the VRE website.
If you choose to drive, the Pentagon is about a ten minute walk from the Pentagon City Mall parking garage and is reached through a pedestrian tunnel. Once through the tunnel, look for signs to the Metro entrance. No shuttle service is provided to or from the Pentagon. There is a charge for parking at the mall.
From the North -- Take I-270 South to the I-495 South (Capital Beltway). Merge onto George Washington Parkway. Take the exit toward VA-27/Lyndon B. Johnson Memorial Grove/I-395/Pentagon.
From the South -- From West of the Potomac River, take I-95 North. Merge onto I-395 North. Merge onto VA-27N/ Washington Blvd. toward the Pentagon.
From east of the Potomac River, take I-295 (North or South, depending on starting point) to the I-395 South. Merge onto the I-395 South. Exit the Boundary Channel Dr/ Exit 10A toward Pentagon North Parking. Turn left at Boundary Channel Dr and right at North Rotary Rd. Follow Rotary Rd. around for bus drop-offs.
From the East -- If close to the Potomac River, follow the "From the south" directions above, starting with "From East of the Potomac River." If farther from the Potomac River, take I-495 South (Capital Beltway). Then follow the "From the South" directions, starting with "Merge onto I-395 North."
From the West -- Take Route 50 East toward Arlington. Exit the VA-27 E/ Washington Blvd. Merge onto VA-27 S/Washington Blvd.
Union Station is also served by weekday Maryland Rail Commuter (MARC) trains from Silver Spring, Kensington, Garrett Park, Rockville, Gaithersburg, Germantown and suburbs further to the northwest. MARC service goes all the way to Martinsburg, West Virginia. MARC also runs two additional lines to the northeast. Their Penn Line goes all the way to Aberdeen, MD, northeast of Baltimore. MARC service is less frequent and more expensive than Metrorail service. Schedule and fare information can be obtained 24 hours a day by telephone from the Maryland Transit information line at 800-325-7245.
DoD Bus Service
The Pentagon Circulator is a free shuttle service for all personnel and the public from the Pentagon Transit Center (PTC) to North and Boundary Channel Parking. For more information please click here.
The Department of Defense has established a DoD bus service that operates during normal duty hours. The buses are available for use by DoD personnel on official business. The service is free and all DoD installations or activities in the metropolitan Washington area may be reached by one or more of the lines. A complete schedule is available at the information booth in the Concourse or by calling 703-693-3768. Click here for more information.
The 11th Wing Finance Office, Military Personnel Flight, and The Airman and Family Readiness Center (A&FRC)are located in Room 5C1049 for those assigned to the Pentagon.
Requests for area Welcome Packets and information can be made by contacting The Pentagon A&FRC at 703-693-9460.
Pentagon information and local area information is also provided by Armed Forces Hostess Association (AFHA), an all volunteer group of military spouses representing all five of the uniformed services whose office is located within the Pentagon. They can be reached by calling 703-614-0350/0485.
The Official site of Washington Headquarters Services, also offers information for those working in the Pentagon.
There are a number of different private hotel establishments surrounding the Pentagon, however none of them are government affiliated (besides that they offer a government/military rate). For guests wanting to stay at a military installation, the closest temporary military lodging facilities, with proximity to the Pentagon, include:
As stated above, if rooms are unavailable through temporary quarters, the local area is abundant with hotels.
Although the Pentagon does not house a Loan Closet, the Fort Belvoir Army Community Service has a limited amount of "need now" items for checkout from their Loan Closet to PCSing personnel. Some of the items available for checkout are ironing boards, irons, toasters, coffee makers, silverware, dishes, glassware,food preparation knives, cutting boards, dish cloths, measuring cups, pots/pans and sleeping mats/futons. We do not provide bed linens.
Items are checked out free of charge upon presentation of PCS orders showing an assignment to a base in the National Capital Region. Normal checkout duration is 14 days. Extensions depend upon availability. Lost or damaged items will be paid for on the spot or replaced within 24 hours. The loan Closet is available at the Fort Belvoir Army Community Service at 703-805-5058/1795/3436 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is not a housing office at the Pentagon. If you want to live on a military installation the closest Air Force bases to the Pentagon are Joint Base Anacostia Bolling and Joint Base Andrews. The closest Army Bases are Fort Meyer and Fort Belvoir. For questions concerning your housing needs please visit the Air Force Housing or the Army Housing website. This website is designed to support you in the transition to your new home and community. Use the resources accessible through the site to become familiar with the housing options and support services available to you.
Childcare is one of the most stressful things to find when PCSing to a new area. One wants to make sure that their child is being well cared for in a safe environment. While moving to the Pentagon can be an exciting process, finding childcare can be a bit daunting. There are many options but sometimes these options come at a cost.
Unfortunately, the Pentagon does not offer childcare on site but there are many installations close by that do. Ft. Meyer/Henderson Hall is the closest military installation. Also within commuting distance there is Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Fort Belvoir and Andrews AFB. You can opt to enroll in care on any installation regardless of your branch of service. Additionally, if you are unable to obtain child care on a base, you might be able to qualify for a childcare subsidy that may help off-set the cost.
To be able to enroll your child within one of the Department of Defense childcare programs or approved community programs, you first have to register with Military Child Care. As the site states, “This single online gateway provides access to comprehensive information on military-operated and military-subsidized child care options worldwide.” The site allows you to look at all different program options and manage child care requests. You can search for care by location and child’s age.
Child Care Aware is another research tool for finding child care facilities/options in the National Capitol Region. You can utilize one of the Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) agencies to help you find childcare or you can find resources by utilizing their State by State Resource section. Under the Families heading in the Child Care Aware site, you will find information regarding Military/DOD Child Care assistance.
Due to the high cost of childcare in the area, you may be able to qualify for financial assistance. As the Child Care Aware site states, eligibility may vary. If you have questions on this program, you can call 1 (800)424-2246 option 6. If you need additional assistance finding care in a specific area, please call Child Care Aware at 1-800-424-2246 for an Enhanced Referral. An Enhanced Referral Specialist will help you find care which takes in to account your home location, work location, hours of care, provider eligibility and ages of the children.
Dedicated Volunteers and Sponsors Donate Time and Effort for Renovations
Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore, October 8, 2015 - The USO Lounge at Washington Dulles International Airport, a home away from home for military personnel and their families, today held the ribbon cutting ceremony for the grand reopening of their renovated space. Renovations include: new flooring, fresh paint, new appliances, and more. The lounge, which originally opened in 2007, is open 16 hours a day and serves more than 25,000 military visitors per year - consisting of active duty and retired military personnel, National Guard, reservists, merchant marines, and their dependents.
The lounge aims to help "lift the spirits of military members and their families" by providing an environment to reduce the stress of travel and relocation. It provides occupants with a hospitality desk, comfortable seating, photocopying and faxing services, TV area, snack bar, wireless internet access, unlimited domestic and international calls, lodging assistance, and more. More than 200 volunteers help support the lounge - contributing more than 13,000 hours of service each year.
The renovations were made possible by the donation of time and funds from EMC Corporation, as well as the founding sponsors Northrop Grumman and Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA), and with the help of national non-profit Rebuilding Together.
"EMC is proud to support the USO and their outstanding projects for our nation's military community," said Barry Morris, Vice President, EMC Federal. "We'd like to thank all the volunteers for their time, energy, and ideas in the renovation of the USO Lounge at Washington Dulles Airport. We hope many thousands of military travelers will enjoy the Lounge in the years to come."
For more information on the USO Lounge at Washington Dulles International Airport, and find out how you can help support, please visit website.
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