VIRGINIA

Mayor 'disturbed' by report suggesting security vulnerabilities at Mark Center

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A recent report suggesting security vulnerabilities at the Mark Center has prompted criticism from Alexandria Mayor William D. Euille.

The report examined the potential impacts of truck bombs similar in size to high-profile terrorist attacks would have on the site where thousands of Dept. of Defense employees are relocating. Several models showed that the building would be wiped out.

Euille wrote a letter to President Barack Obama that he was "very disappointed" that the city was having difficulty getting information to prepare for emergency response and called for the city to be treated as a "full partner" in addressing the public safety needs of the DOD's Washington Headquarters Services office complex.

A spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said that protection levels had been carefully reviewed and were in accordance with the same levels of protection currently in place at the Pentagon.

"The bomb-resistant protection is a single aspect of what is actually a much larger series of protective measures that work as a system and have been put in place to protect the future residents" of the Mark Center, said Scott Harris, a spokesman for the Corps of Engineers. "Because of the sensitivity of the information in question, [the Corps] will not discuss specifics regarding force protection for [the Mark Center] because it could pose a potential threat to DOD personnel and the communities at large."

Alexandria has been making preparations of its own as the first stream of 6,400 DOD workers move into the complex. Nearly 2,000 employees have moved in over the past month.

"The City of Alexandria has well established citywide, all-hazard emergency response plans and procedures in place. Specifically, the Alexandria fire department and Alexandria police department have been conducting a great amount of internal planning in regards to the [Mark Center] opening," city spokesman Tony Castrilli said.

Alexandria police also have stationed officers at eight intersections during the morning and evening rush hours to mitigate traffic problems, he said.

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