Press Release

Gillibrand Secures Key Committee Approval for New Air Force Cyber Security Strategy for R&D at Rome Labs

May 24, 2012

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today announced that the Senate Armed Services Committee has passed her amendment that requires the U.S. Air Force to establish a strategy to strengthen America’s cyber security with new research and development, initiated at research institutions such as the Air Force Research Laboratory in Rome.

Senator Gillibrand’s amendment passed as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013.

“Cyber technology is playing an essential role in our national security and economic growth, with the Rome Research Lab leading the way in new innovation that I have seen firsthand,” Senator Gillibrand said. “If we’re going to protect our defense technology, and keep America’s networks and infrastructure safe from attack, we need a thorough strategy for new research that can spark new technology. New York is home to cutting edge research institutions and the brightest minds that I know can meet the challenge.”

The 2013 Air Force budget included $136 million for research and development for a broad range of cyber science and technology, a roughly 20 percent reduction from 2012. Although that funding is expected to be augmented for the Air Force’s 2014 budget, Senator Gillibrand’s amendment ensures the Air Force details its investment strategy for cyber technology within 180 days of being signed into law.

The Air Force report would at a minimum provide the following details:

  • Identify the Air Force’s near, mid, and long-term science and technology priorities for cyber information-related technologies and the resources – both in funding and personnel – projected to address these priorities;
  • Lay out a transition strategy for the results of these science and technology efforts into weapons systems, including cyber tools;
  • Address how the Air Force will recruit and retain a highly skilled workforce in these areas; and
  • Address laboratory infrastructure and research facilities necessary for accomplishing this research and development.

Senator Gillibrand also cosponsored Senator Mark Udall’s provision directing the Department to provide a report on the current recruiting, training, and retention programs for cyber career fields in DOD.

Now passed out of committee, the bill moves to the full Senate for final passage, before being reconciled with the version passed by the House of Representatives.