NSA wants to build $896.5 million supercomputing center

By on April 22, 2011, 3:26 PM
The National Security Agency (NSA) is designing a new $895.6 million supercomputing complex called the High Performance Computing Center, to be complete by December 2015. It will be constructed at its Fort Meade, Maryland, headquarters over the next several years according to National Security Agency Military Construction, Defense-Wide FY 2012 Budget Estimates (19-page PDF via InformationWeek).

The Department of Defense budget document indicates that the project will be designed with energy efficiency, security, and "state-of-the-art" computing horsepower in mind, including the goal of attaining an LEED Silver certification by conserving water, energy, and materials. The specifications for the new supercomputing complex seem to suggest that the NSA is building a massive data center, with typical needs such as raised flooring, chilled water systems, fire suppression, alarms, as well as power requirements of 60 megawatts.

The NSA is requesting $84.7 million for the new High Performance Computing Center in fiscal 2012, including $35 million for planning and design. That will be followed up with a planned $399.9 million in fiscal 2013, and $431 million to complete the center in fiscal 2014. Unsurprisingly, the supercomputing complex will have expensive protection, including an estimated $15.1 million in building security and $21.7 million on perimeter control. The security features will include a vehicle cargo inspection facility, a visitor control center, card access control, video surveillance, intrusion detection systems, chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear detection systems, perimeter fencing, and so on.

In addition to the supercomputing center and a few non-tech related construction projects, the budget document also shows a $246.4 million request for 2012 to be used for NSA's new cybersecurity data center under construction at Camp Williams, Utah as well as a $68.6 million request for a new generator at NSA's communications intercept site at RAF Menwith Hill in England.

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