The Department of Homeland Security was slated to have a new headquarters constructed which lawmakers and congressional officials deemed as a critical component in the department’s effort to ensure national security operations.
The project, originally to be completed in 2003, is now more than a decade behind schedule, over $1.5 billion over budget, and, according to federal officials, will require more time to be completed.
The headquarters was proposed after the 9/11 attacks on New York City and the Pentagon in an effort to bolster the DHS’s capacity to perform its intended task of fighting international terrorism and responding to natural disasters.
The project involved the renovation of over 50 historic buildings in the Washington, DC area and its latest re-scheduled completion date was in early 2014. In 2013 a Coast Guard building was completed and opened as part of the overall plan, but apart from that the grounds upon which the headquarters were to be built, are still mostly undeveloped.
With an initial budget of roughly $3 billion, delays and economic contingencies have caused that figure to jump to more than $4.5 billion and the newest completion date is now set for 2026.
Many political experts say that part of the problem is that the Department of Homeland Security was created just after and as a direct response to the September 11th terrorist attacks. This meant that at the time the DHS as well as the new headquarters were a much higher priority than they are now.
Despite being less of a priority among political officials, however, the DHS is still a strong component of America’s national security efforts and lawmakers in Washington have made it clear that the new headquarters will be completed despite the setbacks it has experienced thus far.