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View of the Federal Reserve, one of the most secure buildings in the U.S.

10 Most Secure Buildings in the United States

At Great Valley Lockshop, commercial security is our highest priority. Just like each of these secure locations in America, we believe security is of the utmost importance.

Which buildings in U.S. can be considered the most secure? Some of these on our list may surprise you. Here are the top 10 high-security buildings in the country.

10. CIA Headquarters, Langley Virginia

While much of the CIA’s security practices remain top secret, it is said that a CIA employee typically undergoes employee polygraph testing every three to four years to keep America’s intelligence headquarters safe and secure from treason.

Construction of the CIA campus was completed in 1963. The original building spans 1,400,000 square feet and sits on a private, secure lot of land. Architects involved in the projected required top security clearance and building plans were actively guarded to ensure that security features were kept secret. There is even a museum inside the building but nobody outside of the agency has ever been permitted to enter.

9. NSA Headquarters

From polygraph testing to some of the world’s most advanced surveillance programs, the National Security Agency in Fort Meade, Maryland is known as a center for high defense and extreme security measures. Not only do employees undergo strict background testing, but lie detectors are used to question applicants as well as current employees to protect the security of the agency.

This building was also completed in 1963 and represents a fortress surrounded by a moat—in this case, a parking lot. The building itself is tall and solid, yet almost all technical details of the structure continue to be a strictly protected state defense secret.

8. The Pentagon

Standing as the iconic symbol of the United States’ defense program in Washington D.C., the Pentagon is one of the nation’s most highly guarded structures. Defended by the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, top measures are in place to guard against chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear attacks. Security screening is required for everyone entering the building and photography is prohibited to ensure confidentiality.

View of the Pentagon building.
The U.S. Pentagon seen from above.

Despite top security measures, the attacks on September 11, 2001, stand as a testament that no one is completely immune to a security breach.

7. The ADX Florence Prison

For notorious criminals, landing in the ADX prison in Florence, Colorado almost certainly guarantees no chance of escape. The 37-acre compound is called the “Alcatraz of the Rockies” and is currently home to some of the country’s most dangerous include serial killers, kingpins, and terrorists. This American federal prison is classified as a “supermax” facility, which is even more tightly controlled than maximum security penitentiaries.

Inmates are kept in small, soundproof cells and restricted to solitary confinement for the majority of the time. Escorted by three or more officers at all times, each prisoner remains under the close watch of guards when not in their individual cells. All forms of outside communication are forbidden and approximately 14,000 remote controlled doors made of solid steel protect the interiors of the prison.

6. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York

A common misconception within the United States is that most of the world’s gold is stored at Fort Knox, when in actuality, much of the gold lies deep within the vaults of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

view of the Federal Reserve Bank
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The maximum-security gold vault is located in the basement of the Manhattan building. The Fed is the custodian of the valuable reserves and has the responsibility of guarding it for account holders, such as the U.S. government and central banks. The gold is stored in compartments locked with a padlock, two combination locks, and an auditor’s seal. The compartments are numbered to maintain the privacy of the owners.

Using a 140-ton steel and concrete frame, the sole entry to the vault is safeguarded from water, air, and all outside infiltrators. Plus, 24-hour video and motion sensor monitoring protects the vault’s contents at all times.

5. Air Force One

Although Air Force One is not a stationary building or location like the rest, there is no questioning that it is one of the most secure United States structures. This Boeing 747 is used by the president of the United States and his staff. It is the most secure aircraft on the globe and can fly halfway around it with a full tank. With the ability to repel missiles using built-in flares the flying White House provides its passengers with some of today’s most advanced air defenses.

view of the Federal Reserve Bank
Air Force One sitting on the tarmac.

4. Area 51

Located at the border of Southern Nevada, Area 51 is a top-secret military facility for United States security. Until recently, the CIA never even acknowledged the existence of such a building. Consequently, many of Area 51’s security measures remain unknown to the general public.

Sign on a chain link fence reading Entering area 51
A sign on the fence surrounding Area 51.

Today, the facility is used by the U.S. Air Force for training activities. It is not open to the public and armed guards constantly patrol the perimeter of the property. Entering the airspace over Area 51 is also forbidden without specific permission from air traffic control.

3. The White House

The nation’s capital at Washington D.C. has housed over 45 presidents in America’s history. Boasting top security measures and a full staff of secret service agents, the safety of the commander-in-chief and world diplomats relies upon the White House’s one-of-a-kind security.

Sign on a chain link fence reading Entering area 51
The White House in Washington D.C.

In addition to the iconic fence outside the lawn, the White House has bulletproof windows, infrared motion detectors around the perimeter and has a strict no-fly zone over the area.

2. NORAD Cave or Cheyenne Mountain

While many of the secure buildings mentioned above are meant to protect information or important diplomats, the NORAD Command Bunker in Colorado Springs shelters the nation’s top aircraft. This original bunker at Cheyenne Mountain continues to be maintained today with the ability to withstand a nuclear attack of up to 30 megatons.

1. Fort Knox

Of all the revolutionary measures the United States takes in defending the nation, Fort Knox has become one of the most well-known symbols of American security. Located just south of Louisville, Kentucky, Fort Knox is considered the most heavily guarded place in the world. It is defended by advanced security measures put in place by the US Treasury, including guards surrounding the building and multiple combination locks on the vault.

Watch this video to learn more about the 10 most secure buildings in America.

Learn more about the 10 Most Secure Safes and Vaults in the U.S..

These prestigious buildings requires strict access control. And the locksmiths at Great Valley Lockshop know how to make your commercial business like a new “Fort Knox”. Contact us today to learn more about our security services.

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