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24 January 2004
Maps from
Source of photo: The photo is 3-meter resolution; no high-resolution photo was available on the Seamless site.

This site is the FBI Engineering Research Facility (ERF), adjoining the FBI Training Academy, both located on the US Marine training base at Quantico, VA. The ERF Annex is reported to be located nearby Stafford, VA (A. writes: "A recent federal RFP called for a T1 line between Fort Meade and the ERF Annex in Stafford, VA.")

ERF is where the FBI conducts advanced research and forensics investigations (in cooperation with the FBI main laboratory in Washington, DC), in particular on cyber threats and interception of electronic communications with programs such as Carnivore.

(Thanks to A.)

The new structure focuses FBI resources on Tier 1 missions by creating three new decision units: ‘‘National Security’’, ‘‘Counterterrorism’’, and ‘‘Cyber-Investigations and Infrastructure Protection’’. These activities will define the FBI in the 21st century. In particular, the proposed ‘‘Cyber-Investigations and Infrastructure Protection’’ decision unit, with base funding of $101,429,000, consolidates the funding of a number of mutually-supportive initiatives that had been scattered across existing decision units, such as the National Infrastructure Protection Center, including the Special Applications and Technology Unit, computer intrusion squads, Computer Analysis Response Teams, Internet fraud squads, the Internet Fraud Complaint and Intellectual Property Rights Centers, ‘‘Innocent Images’’, and the new Cyber Technology Section of the Engineering Research Facility.

Engineering Research Facility.—Well-heeled criminals, foreign agents, and terrorists have been quick to exploit technological innovations, complicating Bureau investigations. The Engineering Research Facility [ERF] develops and fields cutting edge technology in support of case agents. The rapid pace of progress has necessitated an equally rapid expansion of ERF programs simply to keep current with industry advances. The resultant cramped conditions at the facility have forced employees into leased space and is slowing critical projects due to a lack of room for new equipment. For several years, the FBI has been pursuing funds for the construction of an ERF annex. The annex would: (1) allow the FBI to consolidate far-flung cybercrime assets at the ERF, (2) accommodate planned growth, and (3) improve security by allowing programs of differing sensitivities to be physically separated. Therefore, the Committee recommendation provides $32,541,000 for planning, site preparation, design, and construction of the ERF annex. The FBI may use prior year recoveries or unobligated balances to pay for short-term leased space in order to alleviate overcrowding at the ERF until the new annex opens. In addition, the recommendation includes $10,283,000 to refurbish the existing ERF facility.

Among many Google citations:

The FBI's Carnivore Program

Carnivore is a packet "sniffer" software program that the FBI's Engineering Research Facility (ERF) in Quantico, Va. developed to covertly search for e-mails and other computer messages from criminal suspects. The program (which could run on a laptop, but is usually installed in a rack-mounted computer) sits in an ISP's facilities, monitoring all packets going through a particular router or pipe. The program essentially is an extremely fast search program that looks for particular snippets of information, such as It was developed by the FBI's ERF last year and is reported to have been used in about 50 cases.

The FBI's program is extremely sophisticated. A team of software engineers in Quantico constantly modifies the program in order to make it faster and allow it to recognize new protocols and programs. The Internet, of course, is a very flexible medium - many kinds of computer communications can be sent over it. Thus in order to make sense out of the billions of 1s and 0s passing by it, Carnivore has to be familiar with the most common applications used for Internet communications (e.g., MS Outlook E-mail and Lotus Notes E-mail) and their updates.

58 -- Digital Audio Encoding/Decoding Devices

Notice Date: 8/30/2003

Contracting Office: Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Engineering Contracts Unit/PPMS, FBI Engineering Research Facility Building 27958A, Room A-263, Quantico, VA, 22135

Point of Contact: Duane McClary, Contracting Officer, Phone 703-632-6104, Fax 703-632-6103

E-Mail Address:

Big Eyeballing
FBI Engineering Research Facility

USGS Coordinates of Photograph
Southwest (Bottom Left) Corner Northeast (Top Right) Corner
38.491985 N, 77.449069 W 38.503897 N, 77.434284 W