The Pentagon

Department of Defense Headquarters
The Pentagon, Washington, DC 22202

The Pentagon

The Pentagon is the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense 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. The Pentagon has six Washington, DC ZIP Codes, despite its location in Virginia. The Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the four service branches each have their own ZIP Code.


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.


The Pentagon is the world’s largest office building, with about 6,500,000 sq ft of space. 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.

Arriving at The Pentagon
The closest major airport to The Pentagon is the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.


Your sponsor will assist you during in-processing through the required Army G-2 offices and Pentagon offices. It is important that you contact the Army G-2 Security Manager, commercial (703) 695-2665, DSN 225-2665 before you arrive and are read off from SCI. The Army G-2 Security Manager can arrange to have your Security clearance transferred in Status (TIS) if you contact him early enough. A SECRET Security clearance is required as a minimum to work in the Army G-2.


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.

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