U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U. S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced that the just-passed, bipartisan Senate Fiscal Year 2019 Defense Appropriations bill, which is expected to pass the House in the coming weeks, includes $245.48 million in federal funding for the Information Directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory, or Rome Lab. The senators explained that the FY19 funding level of $245.48 million is $32 million more than the President’s budget request for this year, and roughly $2 million more than the Fiscal Year 2018 total. This funding will allow Rome Lab to continue to lead the nation in cutting-edge cybersecurity research, as well as serve as a catalyst for the Mohawk Valley’s economy.
“Rome Lab is at the vanguard of the fight to counter hacking and other cyber threats in the United States, as well as an essential driver of the Central New York economy, and I am very pleased we secured this significant increase in federal funding to support its essential mission and the talented people that work there,” said Senator Schumer. “Not only has Rome Lab delivered real results in developing and enhancing our nation’s cybersecurity infrastructure, but they have shown a commitment to employing local residents with good-paying jobs and partnering with local business to advance their work. I was proud of the role I played in securing this crucial funding, and will always fight to deliver Rome Lab with the resources they need to continue thriving.”
“Rome Lab is one of the nation’s premier research facilities. It produces key intelligence and advanced technology that protects our nation from cyber-attacks and strengthens our cyber infrastructure. In addition, Rome Lab’s workforce is a vital part of the Mohawk Valley economy,” said Senator Gillibrand, Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Personnel Committee. “I’m pleased that the just-passed Senate Defense Appropriations bill recognizes the importance of Rome Lab and authorizes this federal investment. I will continue to work to make sure that the Lab has the resources it needs to continue doing its important work for our country .”
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 and Gillibrand have long fought to ensure Rome Labs has what it needs to succeed and maintain its strong workforce.