The Pentagon

The United States Department of Defense
The Pentagon, Washington, DC 22202


The Pentagon, which is the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense, is located in Arlington County, Virginia, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. As a symbol of the U.S. military, the phrase “The Pentagon” is often used as a metonym for the Department of Defense and its leadership. Despite its physical location in Virginia, the Pentagon has six Washington, DC ZIP codes. The Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the four service branches each have their own ZIP code within the Pentagon.

The building was designed by American architect George Bergstrom and built by contractor John McShain. Ground was broken on September 11, 1941, and the building was dedicated on January 15, 1943. Despite being the command center of the Department of Defense with many members of the military assigned here, there are no major units at the Pentagon. All military personnel at the Pentagon are assigned to nearby bases, on detached duty, or assigned to non-unit centers.

With about 6,500,000 sq. ft. of space, the Pentagon is the world’s largest office building. It has five sides, five floors above ground, two basement levels, and five ring corridors per floor with a total of 17.5 miles of corridors. The central five-acre pentagonal plaza is nicknamed “ground zero” on the presumption that it would be a prime target in a nuclear war.

In addition to the Pentagon Building, the Pentagon Reservation (which includes all associated land and structures) covers about 220 acres. Prominent structures include the Remote Delivery Facility, Pentagon Athletic Center, and the Pentagon Conference Center. The Remote Delivery Facility receives more than 250 truck deliveries per day and handles over 3.75 million packages and items per year.

The Pentagon Athletic Center is located in the basement of the Pentagon. The Pentagon Library conducts over 2.4 million literature searches annually for Pentagon patrons. The Pentagon Conference Center hosts about 7,800 meetings per year.

There are over 27,000 Active Duty, Reserve, Guard, military families, DoD personnel, civilians, and retirees assigned to The Pentagon.



Military personnel arriving for in-processing at the Pentagon should report to the Pentagon during week days and show their Armed Forces identification card. Bring a copy of your most recent physical exam as well as the security clearance verification memo. Once checked in, proceed to the HQDA Security Office in Room 1B912 to validate your forms. Military personnel will be required to process through multiple departments to get familiarity with the facility. The Class B duty uniform should be worn during in-processing. For more information about what documents besides personnel records to bring, contact Enterprise Hall at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling by calling (202) 433-0960 during the day or the Pentagon directly.

The area surrounding the Pentagon is served by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA or “Metro”), the regional transit agency covering parts of Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. For detailed information about transportation options in Arlington, visit this page.

Nearby Washington DC offers several different public transportation options, including bus and train service. To learn more about the Metrobus and Metrorail systems, visit this pageMany people who work in the DC area choose to commute using the many different transportation options available. Odenton, Bowie in Maryland are popular cities for commuters into Washington DC. In addition, there are several areas located south in Virginia where many employees choose to live. Alexandria, Annandale, Falls Church, and Fredericksburg are all popular cities near Arlington.

Northern Virginia is the third worst congested traffic area in the nation, in terms of percentage of congested roadways and time spent in traffic. Northern Virginia residents spend an average of 46 hours a year stuck in traffic.

To make commuting easier, northern Virginia has several toll roads and many commuters use an EZ-Pass to cut down on costs and traffic time. You can learn more about how to obtain an EZ-Pass here.

The Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) is just 3 miles from the Pentagon, which is about a 5-minute drive without traffic.

The Arlington area is also served by the Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) west of Washington DC and the Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) in Maryland.


TRICARE Information and News


For a full list of community health centers, visit the Health Center Program at


Check the US News Health directory online at to find the best doctor for your family.


The American Dental Association provides a list of dentists near you on their website


Virginia’s compulsory attendance law states that all children who are five years old on or before September 30 of the school year must be enrolled in school. This could include public school, private school, a public or private preschool program, a private tutor, or home instruction. 

In 2010, the majority of states, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity adopted Common Core State Standards that provide a consistent set of educational expectations for students, regardless of ZIP code. When a family moves, a student’s education is often disrupted because the student may be forced to repeat material or learn at a different level at the new school. With common standards across states, this disruption will be reduced — of particular interest to military families. For more information, visit

Alexandria City Public Schools
Fairfax County Public Schools 

If your child is preparing to attend college, this information on scholarships may be helpful.


Current service members can attend college in their off-duty time and have their military branch pay the tuition. Learn about the Military Tuition Assistance Program. Use the Tuition Assistance (TA) DECIDE tool to help you make the best use of your tuition assistance dollars. 

If you were or are in the military, you may be eligible for Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) education benefits. If you are a spouse or dependent, you may be eligible too. 

Online course options: edX – Founded by Harvard University and MIT, offers high-quality courses from the world’s best universities and institutions to learners everywhere. Whether you are interested in computer science, languages, engineering, psychology, writing, electronics, biology, or marketing. Enroll today!

When moving to a new location, it is important to know who to call when you have an emergency or you need help. Below are some organizations you will find useful.


Child Care Aware:

Under the site’s “Child Care 101” tab you’ll find information related to locating quality child care, the types of child care available to you and how to evaluate the child care providers you visit. There’s also a special section for the military child on the website covering topics such as military fee assistance, payments and provider services.


Military Children and Teens Resource Guide

Arlington, Virginia

Virginia Department of Health (800) 222-1222
The Mission of the Virginia Department of Health is to protect the health and promote the well-being of all people in Virginia. The agency’s vision statement is “Become the healthiest state in the nation.”

Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles

Arlington Public Library

Sheriff’s Office in Arlington (703) 228-4460

Animal Welfare League of Arlington

Voter Registration in Arlington, VA


Utilities in Fairfax County:

Dominion Virginia Power (866) 366-4357

Washington Gas Light Company (703) 750-1000

Water & Utilities in Arlington (703) 228-5000

Trash and Recycling



Cable/Internet/Phone providers in Fairfax County:


Cox of Northern Virginia


For a complete list of all of the utility and cable providers in Fairfax County, visit this page.

The Pentagon (703) 697-1776  


Northern Virginia offers many different housing options including townhomes, single-family homes, apartments and condominiums. Housing can be expensive, but there are many communities in the surrounding area. In addition, northern Virginia is also known for having long commute times due to the highly congested highways and roads. Many people who work at the Pentagon choose to live in northern Virginia in the cities of Falls Church, Alexandria, Stafford, Fredericksburg and Reston.

Falls Church, VA
9.3 miles from the Pentagon

Falls Church offers plenty of housing options, including single-family homes, townhomes, and apartments for rent. The area has plenty of shopping and amenities nearby.

Reston, VA
21.7 miles from the Pentagon

Reston is a popular place to live with quick access to major roads, lots of shopping and good schools. It is typically a 30 or 45-minute commute with traffic, but it offers affordable single-family homes.

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Report to Base is the #1 site for vetted, trustworthy realtors, mortgage brokers and home inspectors. Report To Base does all the hard work for you. All you have to do is click and call.

Be sure to let our partners know you found them at Report to Base!


In Arlington, the summers are warm and humid, the winters are very cold, and it is partly cloudy year round. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 27°F to 87°F and is rarely below 14°F or above 95°F. The best times of year to visit Arlington for warm-weather activities are for the entire month of June and from early August to late September.

The wetter season lasts 4.4 months, from April 10 to August 21, with a greater than 30% chance of a given day being a wet day. The chance of a wet day peaks at 40% on June 17. The drier season lasts 7.6 months, from August 21 to April 10. The smallest chance of a wet day is 20% on October 20.

On average, Arlington gets about 44 inches of rain and 20 inches of snow per year. Arlington gets some kind of precipitation, on average, 117 days per year. In addition, northern Virginia experiences extreme seasonal variation in the perceived humidity. In Arlington, there are 94.6 days annually when the nighttime low temperature falls below freezing, which is about average compared to other places in Virginia.

Compared to the state average of Virginia the cost of living index in Arlington, VA is 165, which is 53% higher than the average in Virginia and compared to the national average it is 65% higher than. The cost of living index is made up of several categories. These are transportation at 9%, utilities at 10%, goods and services at 33%, housing at 30%, groceries at 13%, and health care at 5%. The bulk of the cost of living index comes from the categories of goods and services and housing. If you look at everyday goods and services they can be a good indicator in a certain city of the general costs of goods there. In Arlington, VA goods and services come in at 15% higher than the average in Virginia and are 15% higher than compared to the nationwide average.

The Pentagon is located across the Potomac River from Washington, DC, in Arlington County. The Pentagon is virtually a city in itself with over 23,000 employees, both military and civilian. It has 200 acres of lawn, 16 parking lots, 131 stairways, 19 escalators, and approximately 17.5 miles of corridors. There are a number of food and shopping vendors, dry cleaners, and banking facilities at The Pentagon. Arlington County has a deep history going back to the mid-1700s. This part of Virginia was a theater in the War of Independence, the War of 1812, and was a major location in the Civil War.

Just south of the Pentagon are Pentagon City and Crystal City, which are extensive shopping, business, and high-density residential districts in Arlington. The Arlington National Cemetery is to the north and is a popular tourist attraction. In addition, the Pentagon is surrounded by the relatively complex Pentagon road network.

Arlington County, often referred to simply as Arlington or Arlington, Virginia, is situated on the southwestern bank of the Potomac River. Due to the county’s proximity to downtown Washington, D.C., Arlington is home to the Pentagon, the Reagan National Airport, and the Arlington National Cemetery.

Just a short drive from northern Virginia, the nation’s capital offers a large variety of places to visit, including museums, historic landmarks, art galleries and memorials. In addition, most of the museums and monuments are free to the public and are popular destinations each year, drawing in millions of visitors. Places to visit include the Lincoln Memorial, George Washington’s Mount Vernon, the newly built Museum of the Bible, the National Harbor, and the Smithsonian Museums.

While there’s no admission charge to enter the 19 museums and galleries of the Smithsonian Institution, they’re merely a fraction of the many free things to do in the area. For example, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo is free to the public and is a popular family-friendly attraction located in northwest Washington, D.C. After your visit to the zoo, be sure to stop by the Washington National Cathedral, which prominently and majestically stands at the crossroads of Massachusetts and Wisconsin Avenues in the northwest quadrant of Washington. Tours are available at a minimal cost, and are well-worth your time!

Some other popular points of interest include the National Museum of Natural History, the Jefferson Memorial, Mason Neck State Park, the Washington Memorial, the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, and the White House.

For more information about things to do in the area and for a more complete list of attractions and sites to see, you can visit this helpful website:

Visit Washington, D.C.

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