If you're spending long hours in a stressful job, you need a positive work environment.
One way to achieve that is office design.
It is possible that the director of the National Security Agency, Gen. Keith Alexander, understands this fully. For initial reports in Foreign Policy said that while Alexander was leading the Army's Intelligence and Security Command, he commissioned an Information Dominance Center fashioned after the Starship Enterprise. Fortunately, an article in The Washington Post has since clarified that Alexander wasn't the person who commissioned the Trekkie-inspired office. (It was built before he took the job.) However, The Washington Post did add: "Not to say that he didn't revel in the futuristic command center's bells and whistles."
According to Foreign Policy, a Hollywood set designer was commissioned to create the workspace at the Army's Fort Belvoir, Va., compound "to mimic the bridge of the Starship Enterprise from 'Star Trek,' complete with chrome panels, computer stations, a huge TV monitor on the forward wall, and doors that made a 'whoosh' sound when they slid open and closed."
It is unknown whether there was also a man there with specially enhanced pointed ears to listen in to the world's chatter.
Foreign Policy quoted one retired officer as saying: "Everybody wanted to sit in the chair at least once to pretend he was Jean-Luc Picard."
Naturally, this news has caused some consternation among mortals.
The Guardian's Glenn Greenwald discovered what seem to be images of this Spyship Enterprise on the Web site of DBI Architects. (Oddly, this site appears to be overloaded with visitors.)
The whole enterprise reportedly spreads across 10,740 square feet and presumably was financed from the pockets of ordinary (and less ordinary) Americans.
Perhaps, though, we should be grateful that the general is a Trekkie.
Please imagine the difficulties if he had been an aficionado of, say, Cinderella. It would have been unseemly for a spy center to look like a glass slipper.
And what if there had been a huge motto above the door that read: "You have until midnight before we come to get you!"?
Disturbing, too, would have been the prospect if the general had been a die-hard Nascar fan. I can picture all the bright colors and corporate logos that would have been strewn around the building, with staff crashing into each other to curry the general's favor.
It would have been symbolism gone mad.
On balance, it's surely a fine and forward-thinking idea that the Information Dominance Center was based on the Enterprise.
The Starfleet always came in peace. It existed to maintain stability in the galaxies and preserve a certain sense of civilization.
I just wonder what the folks at the Information Dominance Center wore on casual Fridays.
Updated 2:28pm PT: with information reported by The Washington Post.