Pentagon Relocation Information
Aerial view of the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. Image from Canva.
Welcome to the Pentagon!
If you’ve ever wondered, “Just what is the Pentagon?”, you’re not alone. It’s not a military base in the traditional sense, but it houses some of the most powerful components the U.S. military operates. The Pentagon is the headquarters of the Department of Defense and the names are often used interchangeably.
The Pentagon is actually an office complex shaped like a pentagon when viewed from above. It is literally one of the largest office buildings in the world. Each day, about 25,000 military and civilian employees walk from 16 parking lots, climb 131 stairways, and traverse about 17.5 miles of corridors.
Those assigned to the Pentagon won’t find many of the typical features of military bases, such as housing, but there are amenities that both civilians and military members have access to: shopping, food options, ID offices, dry cleaning, and banking.
The origins of the plan for the construction of the Pentagon began in 1941. Brigadier General Brehon B. Sommervell defended the need for the War Department to expand and centralize due to the instability in Europe. This international backdrop allowed construction to begin on September 11, 1941.
The 9/11 Pentagon Memorial. Image from Canva.
The National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial is an often toured site on the grounds of the Pentagon. It is dedicated to the 184 people who lost their lives on American Airlines Flight 77 and to those who were in the Pentagon that day. Tours of the facility and of the memorial are arranged through the Pentagon’s website.
Moving to the Pentagon? Download your free guide to the area below!
Frequently Asked Questions About the Pentagon
1) Is the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. or Virginia?
The Pentagon is built upon land in Arlington, Virginia. But, the Pentagon uses six Washington, D.C. zip codes as designated mailing addresses.
2) Can you tour the Pentagon?
Yes, but the tours should be scheduled well in advance. You must check in at the Pentagon Tours window, which is located inside the Pentagon Visitor Center. You can find more information at Pentagon Tours FAQ. Consider using the Metro instead of trying to find a parking space.
3) If assigned to the Pentagon, where do we live?
The majority of the people assigned to work at the Pentagon live in Washington, D.C., Virginia, or Maryland. Most military families choose their location depending on personal preferences for budget, commute time, and education opportunities. Arlington, VA, Alexandria, VA, and Fairfax County, VA, are some of the most popular off base options.
The Pentagon does not have on base housing. The surrounding bases of Fort Belvoir, Joint Base Myer Henderson Hall (closest Army bases) Joint Base Anacostia Bolling, Joint Base Andrews (closest Air Force bases), and NSA Fort Meade, Maryland, have housing options for eligible servicemembers.
4) What is the BAH for the Pentagon?
BAH for the Washington DC Metro Area (code DC053, which includes those assigned to the Pentagon), ranges from $2520 for E-1 to $ 3225 for E-9 with dependents, and from $ 2568 for O-1 to $3600 for O-7 with dependents. See housing section for more info.
Pentagon Location and Information
Military Installations in the D.C. Area
The Pentagon is officially located in Arlington, Virginia, near the banks of the Potomac River. On the other side of the Potomac is Washington, D.C. The Pentagon is also situated in the National Capital Region (NCR) and at the same time, a part of D.C., Maryland, and Virginia (the DMV).
Military members relocating to the Pentagon are served well by understanding the term: Inside or Outside the Beltway. Interstate 495 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.
The National Mall in Washington, D.C. Image from Canva.
Public transportation is integral to the way of life surrounding the Pentagon. Servicemembers use public transportation to the Pentagon for multiple reasons: it saves time and money (the military provides a stipend for public transport, and parking at the Pentagon is very limited. Not everyone will have an official space and if they do, it could easily be a 20-minute walk to enter the building. The Pentagon has both Metro and bus routes convenient to the entrance.
View of Capitol Hill. Image from Canva.
You won’t get bored in D.C.! There’s something for everyone: festivals, museums, food, wine, and sports. Do note that major events like the Cherry Blossom Festival, Marine Corps Marathon, and National Christmas Tree Lighting require advance planning as those openings fill quickly.
Stay up to date with local events by reading publications like the Washingtonian, The D.C. Patch, and military family Facebook groups.
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IHG Army Hotels Wainwright Hall - Historia
9775 Gaillard Rd
Fort Belvoir, VA 22060
IHG Army Hotels Fort Belvoir
Joint Base Andrews
Lodging Office/Presidential Inn
1380 California Avenue
Andrews AFB, MD 20762
Air Force Inns
Joint Base Myer Henderson Hall
318 Jackson Ave.
Fort Myer, VA 22211-1199
IHG Army Hotels Wainwright Hall - Historia
Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling
12 Bowline Green, S.W.
GPS address: 12 Beyers Road
Washington, D.C. 20032-5000
Military housing is not available at the Pentagon, however, there are many housing options available throughout the National Capital Region. Please see househunting information below for homes near the Pentagon.
Pentagon Off Base Housing
Near the Pentagon, choosing an off base home 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.
Commuting routes are challenging near the Pentagon. Although many places of work and home destinations are less than 15 miles in distance, at peak traffic hours, it's not uncommon for drive times to measure beyond one hour and more.
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 DMV, 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.
Pentagon BAH Info
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 Pentagon is physically located in Arlington, Virginia, but uses Washington, D.C., mailing codes. It’s also near Alexandria, Woodbridge, and Springfield Virginia, with many options to buy or rent. Some sample Pentagon BAH rates for Washington DC Metro Area (code DC053):
- E-1 with dependents: $2520
- E-1 without dependents: $2061
- E-9 with dependents: $3225
- E-9 without dependents: $2619
- O-1 with dependents: $2568
- O-1 without dependents: $2490
- O-7 with dependents: $3600
- O-7 without dependents: $3204
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Area Weather and Climate
Image from Canva
Get ready to go shopping! In and around the National Capital Region, 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.
The Pentagon’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.
- Weather forecasters often use I-95 as a dividing line to describe transitioning weather.
- Areas north and west of D.C. take on weather from the Shenandoah Mountains.
- East of the city, weather is influenced by coastal weather patterns.
You’ll find many outstanding public school options. Although 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.
Simply joining local Facebook or online neighborhood groups geared toward military members will shed plenty of light on how to navigate the world of educating children throughout the greater Washington, D.C., region. Check out the Capital Area Military Spouses group for quick connections near the Pentagon.
The area around the Pentagon is vast, as are the schooling options. Following are some helpful links for more information for your children’s schooling. Don’t forget to check to check baseline information with outlets such as Niche and Boards of Education for Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.
Support for Military and Families
There is an abundance of support for military families on and around the Pentagon. The Washington, D.C., area 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.
Some more helpful links:
Things to Do Near the Pentagon
The challenge while stationed at the Pentagon is to do ALL the things to do! Take the advice of military families before you and start by making a list of your must-see and do activities. Time slips away quickly, and before you know it, you’ll be scrambling to fit in last-minute adventures before your next PCS.
You’ll want to make plans for:
- The Cherry Blossom Festival
- National Christmas Tree Lighting
- The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
- Professional football, baseball, basketball, hockey
- Great Falls National Park
- Shenandoah Valley
The challenge is also to become flexible enough to take advantage of unexpected opportunities that will inevitably be thrown your way. Impromptu invites to one-of-a-kind events are common, either through the servicemember’s job or thanks to any number of family-friendly military organizations in the NCR.
After families check off the major attractions like the Smithsonian system and monuments, it’s common to stick close to home and tour the local area, especially in Alexandria, because of its historical influence.
One of the first tours families often take is one of the Pentagon itself. You should schedule a tour well in advance of the date you wish to go. You can find more information at Pentagon Tours FAQ. Consider using the Metro instead of trying to find a parking space.
More Pentagon Area Info
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