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The National Capital Region of the United States consists of Washington, D.C. and the surrounding counties and independent cities in Maryland and Virginia. The term National Capital Region is primarily used as an administrative designation within federal government circles, especially in the General Services Administration, Department of Defense, and Department of Homeland Security. It is not colloquial; "Washington" or even "D.C." – though not "the District", which specifically refers to the District of Columbia – are more commonly used to describe the region in casual conversation.