U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced that the just-released President’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2017 includes nearly $220 million in funding for the Information Directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory, or Rome Labs. Schumer and Gillibrand explained that Rome Labs is a national leader in communications and cyber technology in the heart of the Mohawk Valley. Schumer visited Rome Labs in November 2015 to tour the facility, as well as reaffirm his strong commitment to preserving and increasing funding for Rome Labs. In December 2015, Schumer announced that the Omnibus spending bill – the must-pass bill that funds the federal government through the end of the fiscal year – included $215 million in funding for Rome Labs in FY 2016. Schumer said he will fight tooth and nail to ensure the highest level of funding is maintained in the final appropriations bill in Congress.
“The President’s budget is great news for Rome Labs – and shows just how important this Central New York staple is to both our regional economy and protecting our nation’s cyber defense network. This federal funding will allow Rome Labs to continue at the vanguard of countering cyber threats, particularly in era of constant hacking, cyber-spying and cyber-terror,” said Schumer. “We need to make sure Rome Labs is continually funded at the highest level possible – so I will fight tooth and nail to make sure this funding is included in the final appropriations bill for 2017.”
“I am pleased that the Administration recognizes the value of Rome Labs and is planning to invest even more than last year to ensure that this premier research organization can continue to do the critical work of supporting our national security,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I will work hard to ensure that this funding is included in the Fiscal Year 2017 appropriations bill and that Rome Labs has the tools and resources it needs to continue to be successful.”
Located in Oneida County, one of Rome Labs’ 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 and other state and local governments. Schumer said that in order for Rome Labs – which employs over 1,000 workers – to continue its mission of protecting the nation’s cyber security network, federal funding for the lab must be protected and increased as federal resources will go directly to support the facility’s operations and personnel.
Rome Labs is a source of growth for the regional economy and a major source of employment. According to the USAF, it is estimated that Rome Labs generates over $290 million in total economic growth in Central New York, including over 2,400 direct and indirect jobs supported with a payroll of roughly $191 million. The lab generates more than $100 million in expenditures in the Central NY area and spawned more than $6.6 million in economic impact among visitors between 2010 and 2014 alone. Because of Rome Labs’ strong commitment to excellence in developing and enhancing this nation’s cyber security infrastructure, as well as its commitment to employing local residents with good-paying jobs, Schumer has long fought to ensure Rome Labs has what it needs to succeed and maintain its strong Central NY workforce.