NSA wants $896.5 million to build new supercomputing complex

The federal government may be cutting corners left and right, but that hasn't stopped the NSA from requesting nearly $900 million to help beef up its supercomputing capabilities. According to budget documents released by the Department of Defense yesterday, the NSA is looking to construct a massive new High Performance Computing Center in Maryland, designed to harness plenty of supercomputing muscle within an energy efficient framework. As with many other data centers, the NSA's $896.5 million complex would feature raised floors, chilled water systems and advanced alarm mechanisms, but it would also need about 60 megawatts of power -- the same amount that powers Microsoft's gargantuan, 700,000 square-foot data center in Chicago. According to the DoD, however, the NSA would use that juice judiciously, in the hopes of conserving enough water, energy and building materials to obtain LEED Silver certification. Another chunk of the funding, not surprisingly, would go toward fortifying the facility. The NSA is hoping to pour more than $35 million into building security and perimeter control, which would include a cargo inspection facility, advanced surveillance, and systems designed to detect any radiological, nuclear, or chemical threats. If all goes to plan, construction would wrap up by December 2015.