Continuing their fierce advocacy for the Mohawk Valley and Central New York’s ascent as a cutting edge tech hub, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced that they have secured $293,248,000 in federal funding for the Air Force Research Laboratory in Rome (Rome Lab) in the just unveiled omnibus legislation. The total amount includes specific provisions the reps pushed for, including $10 million for the “Quantum Computing Test Bed” at the Innovare Advancement Center in Rome to research and develop the next generation of the super computers; $200,000 for testing of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) at SkyDome in Rome; and a $25 million add to Rome’s budget to enable the development and manufacturing of an advanced quantum photonic system allowing the United States to compete with China in the next frontier of chips for quantum super computers while attracting top talent to Upstate New York.
Schumer and Gillibrand said that this Fiscal Year 2022 funding accounts for over a $15 million increase over Fiscal Year 2021 – that was $278,889,000.
“Rome Lab has again shown that in the race for innovation in quantum computing, they are leading the pack and this tremendous federal funding will accelerate their cutting edge technology and further cement Upstate New York as the home of America’s future in security technology,” said Senator Schumer. “The Rome Lab and their powerhouse workforce here in the Mohawk Valley are on the frontlines defending and fortifying our nation’s cyber defense. Now more than ever this massive infusion of funding will ensure that the world class innovators and scientists at the lab have the resources they need to ensure that our nation stays ahead of our international competitors – including China – in these virtual battle fields.”
“Following my visit to the groundbreaking Innovare Advancement Center last year, I knew this center and its innovators were perfectly positioned to solidify New York’s legacy as a worldwide leader in technological innovation and cybersecurity. For years I have fought for this community and industry as part of my steadfast commitment to making America a worldwide leader in technological innovation, and now I am thrilled to bring nearly $300 million in federal dollars home to New York,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Today, more than ever, we need the infrastructure to protect our nation from serious cybersecurity threats. This federal investment will advance Rome Lab’s incredible work in quantum research, help bring great jobs to the Mohawk Valley, and secure New York State’s position as a leader in national security.”
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. Schumer and Gillibrand have been especially supportive of the Lab’s quantum computing research in recent years, helping secure tens of millions of dollars that helped fund the ‘Quantum Information Science Innovation Center’ – also known at Innovare Advancement Center –in Rome. Additionally, the senators helped secure millions of dollars to help launch Sky Dome, an indoor UAS testing facility that is part of the UAS Test Site at Griffiss International Airport in Rome.
In 2021, following the senators’ direct advocacy Rome Lab was designated as the Quantum Information Science Research Center for the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force. This laid the foundation for the funding this year for the “Quantum Computing Test Bed” at the Innovare Advancement Center, which aims to be a global catalyst to converge world-class talent in areas including artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and quantum, to tackle the country’s greatest challenges to national security and economic competitiveness.
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 2020 economic impact analysis, Rome Lab employed over 1,200 workers with an annual payroll of $150 million and generated over $500 million in regional economic activity. 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 Lab has what it needs to succeed and maintain its strong workforce. Since 2018, the senators have directly secured over $80M for Rome Lab’s for quantum computing efforts and over $20 million for UAS research and development.