U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today urged the Secretary of the U.S. Air Force (USAF) Ms. Deborah Lee James to select a new director for Rome Laboratory in Central New York who will maintain the same innovative and forward-thinking leadership as the facility’s former director, Mr. George Duchak. In a letter to Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James, Schumer and Gillibrand noted Rome Labs’ essential work in serving as a research and development, communications and strategic planning facility for USAF personnel in Oneida County. Under Duchak’s leadership, Rome Labs established itself as a leader in the military community in gathering cyber intelligence and providing good-paying, high-tech jobs in Central New York. The letter urges the USAF to quickly select someone who will maintain Rome Lab’s reputation as a premier research facility.
“Under Mr. Duchak’s leadership, Rome Labs has become a leader in countering cyber threats and generating economic growth in Central New York. While Rome Labs will miss his leadership, a new director must be named, and soon, to ensure there are no lapses in leading the facility’s operations,” said Senator Schumer. “That’s why we are urging Secretary James to appoint a new director who will continue to maintain Rome Laboratory’s excellence as a leading research and communications facility and an economic anchor in Oneida County. Rome Laboratory deserves another strong leader who will chart a course for continued innovation and growth.”
“Rome Lab is at the forefront of U.S. national security research and a critical part of the community,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I am hopeful that the Air Force is focused on finding a leader who will ensure that the Lab continues to thrive.”
Rome Labs, the Information Directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory, is a national leader in communications and cyber technology in the heart of the Mohawk Valley, located in Oneida County. One of its primary focuses is gathering and processing cyber intelligence. In addition, the facility is a source of growth for the regional economy. According to the USAF, it is estimated that Rome Labs generates over $290 million in economic growth in Central New York, including over 2,400 direct and 1,300 indirect jobs supported.
Schumer and Gillibrand explained that George Duchak, the former director of Rome Labs, has been selected to lead the Department of Defense’s new technology office in Silicon Valley and, as a result, the Senators said the lab needs a new director who will advance the forward-thinking, enterprising approach that will continue to move the lab forward as a world-class research facility and information technology center of excellence. Schumer and Gillibrand said the previous director successfully led Rome Labs’ research and development activities in cybersecurity, information processing and advanced computing for roughly two years. Duchak’s innovative leadership helped Rome Labs partner with small businesses throughout the region to maintain the country’s cybersecurity defenses against domestic and foreign threats.
The Senators say the same kind of leadership is needed to continue the successes that led to the creation of an ecosystem in Rome for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence (C4I) and Cyber, which created $1.1 billion in revenue during 2014 alone. Therefore, Schumer and Gillibrand urged the USAF to select a new director to fill the position as soon as possible, and one that shares a similar vision of advancing Rome Labs’ presence in the industry as well as its importance in the Central NY economy. The Senators said, given the immense responsibilities of Rome Labs, specifically in leading the USAF’s cybersecurity efforts, a new director needs to be selected soon to ensure a both smooth transition and one that will allow the facility to continue to expand upon its day-to-day operations.
A copy of Schumer and Gillibrand’s letter to the Secretary of the Air Force appears below:
Dear Secretary Deborah Lee James,
We write to express concern about a critical New York institution, the Rome Laboratory, the Information Directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory, and the pending decision to name a permanent director.
First, we want to express our approval of the departing director, applaud Mr. George Duchak, for his innovative and proactive leadership during his all-too-brief tenure at Rome Laboratory. His entrepreneurial approach to creating an ecosystem in Rome for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence (C4I) and Cyber created $1.1B in revenue during 2014 alone, and this team of partners continues to create great value toward both the defense of our nation and the regional economy.
We strongly encourage you to appoint a new director who has the same forward-thinking, enterprising approach to advancing this information technology center of excellence. As you know, Rome Laboratory is an essential element of a growing and synergistic community in upstate New York in the C4I and Cyber mission space, bringing together a world-class research capability with industry partners, international experts, and academia. The Air Force estimates that the annual economic impact of Rome Laboratory is over $290 million within Central New York, including over 1,300 indirect jobs supported.
You once made the statement, “Rome Labs is the centerpiece for our Air Force cybersecurity and the future of Command, Control and Communications.” We could not agree more. We anticipate Rome Laboratory will become even more of a strategic asset to the Air Force as we continue to see cyber threats emerge globally, which is why appointing a qualified and dedicated with leader as the Director of Rome Laboratory is so important. With the right leadership and support from the Air Force, our nation can only benefit from the research and development taking place at Rome Laboratory.
We thank you for your consideration of this matter. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us directly.
Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator
United States Senator