Some government anti-terrorism officials worry that the shiny new Defense Department office complex just south of the Pentagon, the Mark Center, is a death trap. The massive, two-tower center is the new home for 6,400 employees of the Washington Headquarters Service, located about 3 miles south of the Pentagon. It’s part of BRAC and employees start drifting in this month.
Here is the problem: the building hugs a massive 6-lane highway, route 395, and it is easily approachable from several other directions by car — or truck bomb.
I’ve obtained copies of the Pentagon’s own, internal truck-bomb blast models for the building, and it ain’t pretty. DOD anti-terrorism officials ran a bunch of studies showing the impact on the building of truck bombs ranging from 1,000 to 20,000 pounds. I’ve driven all around the place and the scenarios could easily occur — there are a few guards and fences, but not much.
Some of the models show the place essentially wiped out: “Many serious injuries and many fatalities in outer offices. Wall and window debris in these areas will be thrown toward interiors and will cause moderate to sever injuries with potential fatalities in inner offices.” Problem.