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Universities to sweeten the pot for FBI headquarters in Maryland with new national security academy

The University of Maryland, College Park and the University of Maryland, Baltimore plan to establish a joint national security academy for students and professionals — a concept intended in part to help lure the FBI's headquarters to the state.

The brick-and-mortar academy would allow both universities to expand current programs in cybersecurity, law, criminology and counterterrorism.

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Officials planned to announce details Tuesday morning in Greenbelt.

"By bringing all of those intellectual components together, we would have this vibrant environment that would really be conducive to the FBI relocating to Maryland," said Donald Tobin, dean of the Francis King Carey School of Law at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

The FBI is planning to leave its current headquarters in Washington. Maryland is competing with Virginia to land the agency and its estimated 10,000 headquarters jobs.

Maryland officials have focused on sites in Greenbelt, near Interstate 95, the Capital Beltway and Metro and MARC train stops, and Landover.

In June, Gov. Larry Hogan offered $317 million in infrastructure and traffic improvements to accommodate a new headquarters in Greenbelt. He offered $255 million for the Landover site, which would require fewer improvements.

William Braniff is executive director of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, which is based in College Park.

"It's really exciting to think about a place where you, at the water cooler, are just as likely to walk into the supervisory special agent running one of the counterterrorism units out of Baltimore and the undergraduate student working on an internship," he said.

The partnership would bring to bear College Park's expertise in criminology and counterterrorism and the Baltimore school's specialties in law, cybersecurity and technology.

The academy would also offer instruction to FBI agents, facilitate internships for students, and foster research between students and professionals.

"One-stop shopping," Braniff said. "All these people would be in the same space for research, for education, for internships. The FBI could recruit and cultivate and nurture those relationships."

Greenbelt and Landover are two of the three finalists to build the new headquarters. The third is in Northern Virginia.

The General Services Administration, the federal government's real estate arm, will select the location.

Baltimore Sun reporter Erin Cox contributed to this article.

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