Press Release

Schumer, Gillibrand And Brindisi Announce Construction Will Finally Start On Long-Awaited And Once Threatened Rome Lab Perimeter Security; Reps Say $13.15m Army Corps Contract Marks Major Progress In Effort To Shield Rome Lab From Potential Harm

Jan 17, 2020

Air Force Research Laboratory In Rome, NY Is DoD’s Premier Research Organization For Command, Control, Communications, Cyber & Intelligence Technologies; After Securing $13.2M Project In 2019 Defense Appropriations Package And Personally Lobbying Air Force Secretary To Move Forward With Project, Schumer, Gillibrand & Brindisi Reveal Feds Finally Award Contract & Construction Set To Begin; Schumer, Gillibrand & Brindisi: It’s Critical To Do Everything Possible To Secure Rome Lab, The U.S. Epicenter Of Cyber-Defense And Cutting-Edge Communications, From Potential Threats

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and U.S. Representative Anthony Brindisi [NY-22] today announced that, following their major push, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has awarded a $13.15 million contract to Four Tribes Enterprises LLC to construct long-sought and sorely-needed perimeter security at Rome Lab. The representatives said that ensuring the safety and security of Rome Lab and its personnel is critical to its important mission and thanked USACE for finally awarding a contract to a vendor. Schumer, Gillibrand and Brindisi successfully fought to include $13.2 million in federal funding for the Rome Lab perimeter security in the Fiscal Year 2019 Defense Appropriations bill, setting the stage for this contract to be awarded and construction to get underway. Additionally, in a personal meeting with Barbara Barrett, then-nominee to become Secretary of the Air Force, Schumer directly urged the Air Force to award a contract for the Rome Lab perimeter security and for shovels to hit the ground as soon as possible.

“Rome Lab is at the vanguard of the fight to counter hacking and other cyber threats in the United States, and with this contract finally awarded to construct desperately-needed perimeter security, its world-class personnel will be protected from harm as they work to protect the United States from harm,” said Senator Schumer. “Making sure the lab has the resources and funding it needs to advance research, increase development and safeguard its perimeter and assets is a top priority of mine, which is why I fought tooth and nail to include funding for this vital project in last year’s defense budget. With a contract awarded and construction soon to get underway, we are one major step closer in our mission to secure Rome Lab from potential threats.”

“Scientists at Rome Lab conduct groundbreaking research that helps keep our country safe from cyber-attacks. They are critical to protecting our national security, and they shouldn’t have to worry about their own safety when they go to work,” said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “I was proud to fight for this funding which will help Rome Lab install new security measures surrounding its perimeter. Rome Lab is a major asset to the Mohawk Valley, New York, and our country, and I will continue to ensure that it has the resources it needs to be successful.”

“As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I will fight to make sure the mission at Rome Lab is well-funded and protected,” said Representative Brindisi. “Whether it is Quantum research, cyber activity or any of the other important projects at Rome, the security and safety of its employees is important for our national security. This long-awaited contract is an important next-step to getting this perimeter security built and keeping the workers and defense assets at Rome Lab safe.”

Schumer, Gillibrand and Brindisi said the proposed construction of the project would comply with Department of Defense (DOD) antiterrorism protection requirements by constructing a site security fence around the perimeter of Rome Lab that is equipped with associated lighting, video surveillance, card controlled personnel entry access gates, and visitor control entry point to mitigate physical security threats to the installation. The federal representatives explained that an adequate and secure location is required to protect Rome Lab personnel left vulnerable to potential terrorist type activities, active shooters, and other criminal activity.

Located in Oneida County, one of Rome Lab’s primary focuses is gathering and processing cyber intelligence. Since 1997, it has been the USAF’s “Superlab” and is considered the nation’s premier research organization for Command, Control, Communications, Cyber and Intelligence (C4I) technologies. The lab focuses on developing information technology for air, space and ground systems, in addition to partnering with other federal agencies, universities, private industry and other state and local governments.

Rome Lab is also a source of growth for the regional economy and a major source of employment. According to the U.S. Air Force’s 2017 economic impact analysis, Rome Lab employed over 1,200 workers with an annual payroll of $140 million and generated over $392 million in regional economic activity last year. The U.S. Air Force’s economic impact study can be found here. Because of Rome Lab’s strong commitment to excellence in developing and enhancing this nation’s cybersecurity infrastructure, as well as its commitment to employing local residents with good-paying jobs, Schumer, Gillibrand and Brindisi have long fought to ensure Rome Labs has what it needs to succeed and maintain its strong workforce.

In the Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019 defense budgets, Schumer helped deliver $243 million and $245 million for Rome Lab’s operations and personnel, respectively. That funding included over $13 million directly secured by Schumer for Rome Lab to establish critical components of its Quantum Computing Center of Excellence. In the 2020 defense budget, Schumer, Gillibrand and Brindisi secured $272 million for Rome Lab, a $27 million increase over 2019’s level and $34 million above the president’s budget request. The Lab is using this boosted funding to create an “open campus” ecosystem where researchers from the Air Force, Department of Defense (DOD), government, industry, small business community, and academia can collaborate to solve different computing problems using quantum computing technology, making it a leader in this emerging field.