The program, under the purview of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, hosts more than 106,000 visitors annually. The tour lasts for approximately 60 minutes and follows a route that is approximately one and one half miles in length. Each tour includes the mission of the Department of Defense and each of its branches of service and visits numerous displays that highlight and depict significant moments in military history.
Headquarters of the Department of Defense, the Pentagon is one of the world's largest office buildings. It is twice the size of the Merchandise Mart in Chicago and has three times the floor space of the Empire State Building in New York. The National Capitol could fit into any one of the five wedge-shaped sections. There are very few people throughout the United States who do not have some knowledge of the Pentagon. Many have followed news stories emanating from the defense establishment housed in this building. However, relatively few people have had the opportunity to visit with us.
The Pentagon is virtually a city in itself. Approximately 26,000 employees, both military and civilian, contribute to the planning and execution of the defense of our country. These people arrive daily from Washington, D.C. and its suburbs over approximately 30 miles of access highways, including express bus lanes and one of the newest subway systems in our country. They ride past 200 acres of lawn to park approximately 8,770 cars in 16 parking lots; climb 131 stairways or ride 19 escalators to reach offices that occupy 3,705,793 square feet. While in the building, they tell time by 4,200 clocks, drink from 691 water fountains, utilize 284 rest rooms, consume 4,500 cups of coffee, 1,700 pints of milk, and 6,800 soft drinks prepared or served by a restaurant staff of 230 persons and dispensed in one dining room, two cafeterias, six snack bars, and an outdoor snack bar. The restaurant service is a privately run civilian operation under contract to the Pentagon.