U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and Congressman Anthony Brindisi today announced that over $272 million in funding for the Air Force Research Laboratory in Rome (Rome Lab) has been included in the soon-to-pass, bipartisan omnibus spending package for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020. The representatives explained that the funding is more than $34 million above the president’s budget request for FY 2020 and $27 million more than Rome Lab received in FY 2019. Much of the increase the representatives secured will be used for Rome Lab’s Quantum Computing Innovation Center, which aims to advance American understanding of quantum computing through the creation of an “open campus” ecosystem where researchers from the Air Force, Department of Defense (DOD), government, industry, small business community and academia can all collaborate to solve different computing problems using quantum computing technology. Additional funding will be used for Rome Lab to research Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) technology, and how it can better serve the United States military.
“This federal funding is a green light for DOD to supercharge its investment in just the kind of cutting-edge quantum computing and artificial intelligence research that is happening at Rome Lab. The nation that innovates fastest and best in these technologies will be the superpower of the next century and I am beyond excited to help make Rome Labs a central part of that effort,” said Senator Schumer. “Not only has Rome Lab delivered real results in developing and enhancing our nation’s information science capabilities they have shown a commitment to employing local residents with good-paying jobs and partnering with local business to advance their work. This infusion of funding will ensure that the talented people that work there will help our nation stay ahead of our international competitors in these critically important fields.”
“The research conducted at Rome Lab is critical to protecting our national security. As one of the nation’s premier research facilities, it produces key intelligence and advanced technology that helps defend our country from cyber-attacks and strengthens our cyber infrastructure,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I’m pleased that Rome Lab was awarded funding to help it continue to be a leader in national security and develop cutting-edge technology that keeps us safe. I am proud to have fought for this funding, and I will continue to ensure that the Lab has the resources it needs do important work for the Mohawk Valley, New York, and our country.”
“With these vital funds, Rome Labs and the Mohawk Valley will continue to be in the forefront of military technology,” said Congressman Anthony Brindisi. The race to harness quantum technology will be competitive and we need to make sure America is leading that race. I’m thrilled to see this money included in this funding legislation. These dollars, along with the hard working men and women at Rome Labs, will allow our military to continue to innovate and create the technologies that will lead us into the future.”
The representatives added that Rome Lab was selected to serve as the DOD’s lead representative for quantum research earlier this year because of how advanced its quantum capabilities are in comparison to other DOD facilities. Rome Lab has developed these capabilities, thanks to yearly budgetary increases Schumer has fought to secure for the facility, specifically for its quantum computing research. In the Fiscal Year 2018, Schumer secured $243 million for Rome Lab’s budget – $26 million more than the president’s budget request that year. In Fiscal Year 2019, that number rose to $245 million – $32 more than the president’s budget request. That funding included over $13 million directly secured by Schumer for Rome Lab to establish critical components of its Quantum Innovation Center. The Lab is using the funding to create an “Open Innovation Campus” at Griffiss 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. Schumer said that Rome Lab will use this year’s funding to continue advancements in quantum computing and make similar strides in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) technology.
Located in Oneida County, Rome Lab serves as the lead Air Force Research Laboratory for quantum information technology, cybersecurity, and information sciences. 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 has long fought to ensure Rome Labs has what it needs to succeed and maintain its strong workforce.