Fort Meade NSA
Fort Meade NSA Relocation Information
Image from army.mil
Welcome to Fort Meade NSA!
Fort Meade, Maryland, is home to the Defense Information School, the headquarters of United States Cyber Command, the National Security Agency (NSA), the Defense Courier Service, and Defense Information Systems Agency headquarters. Fort Meade NSA provides support and services for the NSA as well as more than 50 other tenant units including military intelligence and police brigades. Fort Meade NSA is the U.S. center for information, intelligence, and cyber operations.
Although an Army base, named after Union General George G. Meade, Fort Meade NSA is host to all five branches of the military which in part accounts for the reason Fort Meade NSA is Maryland’s largest employer and the Army’s third largest installation workforce, including more than 16,000 military personnel and over 30,000 civilians.
National Security Agency Headquarters. Image from army.mil.
Fort Meade NSA is a fully equipped and functioning city unto itself, sized at more than 5,000 acres. The base has the accommodations you’d expect from a large installation including an updated commissary and Exchange, but also seven public schools located on base, in addition to robust recreation and entertainment outlets which includes family favorite, Burba Lake.
Fort Meade NSA is in the middle of their East Campus build, scheduled to end in 2023. The East Campus encompasses 242 acres and is the center hub for the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command.
Frequently Asked Questions about Fort Meade NSA
1) If assigned to Fort Meade NSA, where do we live?
Fort Meade NSA offers privatized military housing on base under the management of Corvias. Immediately off base, the most popular cities include Odenton, Hanover, and Gambrills. Further away, but equally if not more popular, are the cities of Columbia, Crofton, and Severna Park. Glen Burnie and Bowie are about 10 miles away, and Annapolis is close to 20.
There are many reasons families choose to live further away in Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Maryland. The most common factors are affordability and the need for dual military families who hope to split the difference between duty stations.
2) Where do Fort Meade NSA kids go to public school?
Fort Meade NSA school children are under Anne Arundel County, Maryland, jurisdiction for public schools. There are multiple elementary schools, one middle, and a high school located on Fort Meade NSA, but the schools are not associated with DODEA. Off base public schools in nearby cities, through Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Howard County Public Schools, and Prince George's County Public Schools are also popular possibilities.
3) Does Fort Meade NSA have a hospital?
Fort Meade NSA does not have an ER, but has Kimbrough Ambulatory Care Center. Routine and speciality care appointments as well as same day surgery are options. In this area, U.S. Family Health Plan Johns Hopkins (Tricare Prime) is a prevalent choice for non emergency care off base.
4)What is the zip code for Fort Meade?
Fort Meade zip codes include 20724, 20701, 20755, and 21113.
5) What is the BAH for Fort Meade?
BAH for Fort Meade zip code 20755 ranges from $2100 for E-1 to $2673 for E-9 with dependents, and from $2229 for O-1 to $3102 for O-7 with dependents. See housing section for more info.
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Base Location and Information
Image from army.mil
Fort Meade NSA servicemembers and their families benefit from a centralized location on the north side of the National Capital Region (NCR). Fort Meade NSA sits between two major cities, Baltimore, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. both about 30 miles away. The capital of Maryland, Annapolis, (home to the U.S. Naval Academy) is a short drive and a cherished destination for exploring with out of town guests.
Although day to day traffic aligns more with Baltimore patterns, military members relocating to Fort Meade NSA are served well by understanding the term, Inside or Outside the Beltway, due to the likelihood of occasional or regular commutes into Washington, D.C.
Inside or Outside the Beltway is a descriptor for Interstate 495. It is a 64-mile loop around Washington, D.C., that encompasses suburbs of Virginia and Maryland. The Beltway is used to describe where real estate is located, a reference to where political action occurs (inside the Beltway in D.C.), and most frequently in traffic reports. This information is particularly useful if your family includes dual servicemembers. The NCR is one of the easiest places for an active duty couple to be stationed near each other.
D.C. Area Military Installations
Public transportation is integral to the way of life in the NCR. Servicemembers use public transportation to save time and money. The military provides a stipend for public transport and parking can be a challenge depending on location. Fort Meade NSA does have ample parking, but travel for work to the Pentagon or Walter Reed has parking challenges.
Maryland’s public transportation system, MARC, has a station in Odenton, which is about five miles from Fort Meade NSA. The Penn Line of the MARC runs between Baltimore’s Penn Station, through BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, and into Union Station in Washington, D.C., where Metro stops are accessible. If you’d like to bypass the MARC and pick up the closest Metro stop via car or bus, look for the Green line and Greenbelt Station.
Because of its location near Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Annapolis, Fort Meade NSA and surrounding area residents have access to year-round adventures, including cultural activities of every kind, sporting events, and the abundance of government and historic buildings to tour. You’ll find something for everyone: festivals, museums, food, wine, and concerts.
If interested in major Washington, D.C. events such as the Cherry Blossom Festival, Marine Corps Marathon, Army 10 Miler, or the National Christmas Tree Lighting, do note that these require advance planning, as do visits to the White House or the Pentagon.
Baltimore Inner Harbor image via Mr.TinDC
Fort Meade’s centric, Mid-Atlantic location provides vacation destinations that include river, bay, and ocean excursions in Virginia, Washington D.C., and Maryland. Western Maryland is known for access to mountain terrain, and many families find themselves heading there to seek relief from humid summers, but also to sharpen their ski skills in the winter.
The Eastern Shore is home to abundant waterside tourist attractions as are the Atlantic Ocean beach destinations such as Ocean City and Rehoboth Beach. Keep in mind there’s plenty of additional recreation outlets within a 2-3 hour drive in neighboring West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
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IHG Army Hotels
Candlewood Suites Building 4690
4690 Cooper Avenue Fort Meade, Maryland 20755
Fort Meade NSA Housing
RCI and Housing Services Office
3081 Ernie Pyle St. Fort Meade, Md. 20755
Corvias Property Management
Leasing and Relocation Center
2965 2nd Army Dr., Fort Meade, MD 20755
Fort Meade Housing image via Corvias
Corvias Property Management operates six communities on Fort Meade NSA. Floor plans are available in two-, three-, and four-bedroom options and the housing styles range from historic stand alone properties to modern townhouse style homes. The communities are pet friendly with standard restrictions on number, size, and breed. Community Centers are home to resident events, gyms, pools and playgrounds.
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Fort Meade NSA Off-Post Housing
View homes for sale and houses for rent near Fort Meade NSA.
Annapolis, Maryland. Image from Pixabay.
Due to Fort Meade NSA’s access to multiple major interstates and highways, there are many communities to choose from when searching for an off base home. Fort Meade NSA is 5 miles east of Interstate 95 and a half mile east of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. It is also situated near Maryland State routes 100, 175, and 198. The base is close to the communities of Odenton, Laurel, Columbia, Crofton, Severna Park, Hanover, and Glen Burnie.
It's helpful to know that in the NCR, military families tend to build their lives around their immediate homes and neighborhoods. The dense population, intense traffic, and readily accessible retail and entertainment allow for most families to find what they need in close proximity.
This is true around Fort Meade NSA. You’ll notice Maryland military families stick to their home sites and don’t often head south into Northern Virginia unless they have to. The same is true for the opposite direction. When searching for a home near Fort Meade NSA, choosing an off base house often comes down to ranking and balancing personal preferences as associated with budget, commute, and school accessibility. Your family’s priorities will determine the best location to search for a home.
In most cases, you can expect to pay premium prices for homes for sale and rent that are zoned for top schools or have very convenient commutes. Homes with larger property sizes and smaller price tags, have longer commute times. Military families searching for homes should be aware that although stand alone single family homes are the most popular, townhouse, condo, and apartment living are all comparative options. For example, some neighborhoods only cater to those interested in townhomes and single family homes aren't available.
For military families arriving in the Washington, D.C. Maryland, Virginia (DMV) location, it’s highly recommended to consult a qualified real estate agent knowledgeable about rental properties and home sales in your desired area. It’s common for agents to be licensed in DC/MD/VA, but some choose only to work in one or two states or the District.
Real estate in the DMV can be a challenge for first-timers. Both property and money move quickly and often in cash transactions. Unless PCS’ing from other expensive locations such as San Diego or Hawaii, you’ll want to prepare savings accounts to adjust to rental and home buying costs.
There isn’t a shortage of neighborhoods to choose from. Each has a unique setting, feel, vibe, and pro/con list. It’s up to you and your real estate agent to research the vicinity to choose the perfect match.
Fort Meade BAH
The Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) is a U.S. based allowance determined by geographic duty location, pay grade, and dependency status. It provides uniformed service members compensation based on housing costs in local civilian housing markets when government quarters are not provided. Learn more about your Basic Allowance for Housing.
The Fort Meade area has many options for buying or renting a home. Some sample Fort Meade BAH rates for zip code 20755:
- E-1 with dependents: $2100
- E-1 without dependents: $1803
- E-9 with dependents: $2673
- E-9 without dependents: $2346
- O-1 with dependents: $2229
- O-1 without dependents: $2004
- O-7 with dependents: $3102
- O-7 without dependents: $2625
Fort Meade NSA Weather & Climate
Photo by Cassandra Ortiz on Unsplash
Get ready to go shopping! In and around the NCR, you’re going to need all the gear, from shorts and bug spray to shovels and winter boots. The good news is that if a heat wave or cold front sets in, you can expect it to head out in a week or two.
Fort Meade NSA’s weather patterns include a little bit of just about every phenomenon. Cold, but not bitter winters with an occasional blizzard, a blustery and wet spring season, very humid and hot summers, with the potential for hurricane residue from the coast, and a colorful, but temperate and short lived fall season.
- Summer: July high is around 87 degrees.
- Winter: January low is around 28 degrees.
- Rain: About 43 inches of rain per year.
- Snow: About 14 inches of snow per year.
Worth noting: Weather forecasters often use I-95 as a dividing line to describe transitioning weather. In general, areas north and west of Fort Meade NSA take on weather from the Shenandoah Mountains. East of the base, weather is influenced by coastal weather patterns.
Fort Meade NSA Schools
Fort Meade NSA is part of the Anne Arundel County Public Schools system. On base, there are three elementary schools: Pershing Hill Elementary, Manor View Elementary, and Meade Heights Elementary. The two middle schools are MacArthur Middle and Meade Middle. The high school is Meade Senior High. The early education center is West Meade Early Education Center (PreK-K-ECI). Off base, families often attend other Anne Arundel County schools or public schools in Prince George's County or in Howard County.
On Fort Meade NSA, School Support Services are available for enrichment and resources for all students. This support also features the School Liaison Officer (SLO).
“SLOs are your best support in the area of education, schools and military transitions. SLOs are knowledgeable in current education news and policies. They act as the conduit between the school community – including local public school districts, private schools and home school Families – and the installation.” Contact the SLO at (301) 677-1227 or (301) 677-1165.
You’ll find many outstanding public school options surrounding Fort Meade NSA. Although the choices exist, it’s a balancing act to mix commute times and housing payments with your desired school district. Private schools are plentiful, but costly, and there is an abundance of resources for homeschoolers, many of which are free. For more information about homeschooling in Maryland, consult MWR’s fact sheet.
The following are some helpful links for more information for your children’s schooling.
Support for Military and Families
Image from NPS. gov
There is an abundance of support for military families on and around Fort Meade NSA. The NCR is inundated with entities that provide support systems of various types. From employment to education and recreation, there is a group eager to share opportunities with military families. Some recognizable names include: Military Officers Association of America, National Military Family Association, Hiring Our Heroes, and Blue Star Families.
There isn’t a better region among military destinations for military spouses to take advantage of the amazing number of resources designed specifically for them. The area provides outlets to further education, examine career resources, or volunteer for the multitude of worthy causes for both military and non-military related organizations.
The Employment Readiness Program (ERP) on Fort Meade NSA offers military spouses, veterans, and active duty resources for career development. Nearby, Anne Arundel Community College and Howard Community College campuses are robust higher education systems that work directly with the military community.
Some more helpful links:
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More Area Info
4217 Roberts Ave