The Pentagon is the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense, located in Arlington County, Virginia. As a symbol of the U.S. military, “The Pentagon” is often used metonymically to refer to the U.S. Department of Defense.
The Pentagon was designed by American architect George Bergstrom (1876–1955), and built by general contractor John McShainof Philadelphia. Ground was broken for construction on September 11, 1941, and the building was dedicated on January 15, 1943. General Brehon Somervell provided the major motive power behind the project; Colonel Leslie Groves was responsible for overseeing the project for the U.S. Army.
The Pentagon is a large office building, with about 6,500,000 sq ft (600,000 m2), of which 3,700,000 sq ft (340,000 m2) are used as offices. Approximately 23,000 military and civilian employees and about 3,000 non-defense support personnel work in the Pentagon. It has five sides, five floors above ground, two basement levels, and five ring corridors per floor with a total of 17.5 mi (28.2 km) of corridors. The Pentagon includes a five-acre (20,000 m2) central plaza, which is shaped like a pentagon and informally known as “ground zero,” a nickname originating during the Cold War on the presumption that it would be targeted by theSoviet Union at the outbreak of nuclear war.
On September 11, 2001, exactly 60 years after the building’s construction began, American Airlines Flight 77 was hijacked and flown into the western side of the building, killing 189 people (59 victims and the five perpetrators on board the airliner, as well as 125 victims in the building). It was the first significant foreign attack on Washington, D.C.’s governmental facilities since the burning of Washington during the War of 1812.
What are the strange secrets of the USA?
It is the epicenter of America’s military operations… a five-sided fortress with a single purpose–to defend the United States and its citizens. But behind the concrete walls and re-enforced windows are secrets. Enter the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense and explore the complex operations and top-secret business conducted at the largest low-rise office building in the world. How did the Pentagon get its unusual shape?
How many people work at the Pentagon? What covert intelligence gathering organizations operate within the military compound–and how are their secrets protected? What top-secret information was compromised from the attack on September 11th? How quickly did the building and its tenants get back to business as usual? For seven decades, the Pentagon has been an icon of American strength and military excellence. But more impressive than the building itself are the secrets held there…until now