Fort McNair

Fort Lesley J. McNair, DC is located on the point of land where the Potomac and Anacostia rivers join in Washington, D.C. It has been an Army post for more than 200 years, third only to West Point and Carlisle Barracks in length of service. The military reservation was established in 1791 on about 28 acres of what then was called Greenleaf Point. Maj. Pierre C. L'Enfant included it in his plans for Washington, the Federal City, as a major site for the defense of the capital.

Fort-McNairAn arsenal first occupied the site and defenses were built in 1794. Land was purchased north of the arsenal in 1826 for the first federal penitentiary. The conspirators accused of assassinating President Abraham Lincoln were imprisoned and, after being found guilty, four of the conspirators were hanged and the rest received prison sentences. Among those hanged was Mary Surratt, the first woman ever executed under federal orders. A general hospital, predecessor to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, was located at the post from 1898 until 1909. Maj. Walter Reed found the area's marshlands an excellent site for his research on malaria.

About 90 percent of the present buildings on the post's 100 acres were built, reconstructed or remodeled by 1908. In 1901, with the birth of the Army War College, the post, now called Washington Barracks, became the Army's center for the education and training of senior officers to lead and direct large numbers of troops. The Army Industrial College was founded at McNair in 1924. It evolved into the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. The Army War College was reorganized as the Army-Navy Staff College in 1943, and became the National War College in 1946. The two colleges became the National Defense University in 1976.

The post was renamed in 1948 to honor Lt. Gen. Lesley J. McNair, commander of Army ground forces during World War II, who was headquartered at the post and killed in Normandy, France, July 25, 1944. Fort McNair has been the headquarters of the U.S. Army Military District of Washington since 1966.

  • Date privatized – September 2006
  • Beginning Period of Performance - August 2007 
  • Size - roughly 108 acres
  • Miles of line - 3.7 miles
  • Number of facilities served - 56 buildings
  • Total dollar value of projects completed since inception - $70.5M
  • Number of people supported - Forts Myer and McNair Combined - 2,020 assigned active duty military personnel, 5,900 attached active duty military personnel, 1,374 civilian workforce, 112,000 military family members, retirees, and spouses