Congress has finalized National Defense Authorization Act legislation which includes several items secured by local federal representatives, including millions for Rome Lab.
The House of Representatives is slated to vote on the NDAA on Wednesday and the Senate is expected to vote on it early next week. The NDAA would then go to President Donald Trump for his signature if passed by both houses.
Congressman Anthony Brindisi worked to secure $18 million for Air Force Research Lab, also known as Rome Lab.
Brindisi, D-Utica, said he secured $8 million for a Quantum Innovation Center at the lab and an additional $5 million for quantum science research in the House version of the NDAA. He further said he secured $5 million for counter unmanned aircraft system research.
“This is a big win for Upstate New York and our troops,” said Brindisi in a statement. “Securing these critical funds for Rome Lab will allow the Mohawk Valley to continue to innovate and lead in the development of cutting-edge military technology. Keeping our country safe is my top priority and the mission at Rome Lab is critical to protecting our national security.”
Brindisi, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said in a release that Rome Lab was the first Department of Defense laboratory to trap an ion in 2017, which was a major breakthrough in the development of quantum capabilities for the Air Force.
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer is supportive of the money Rome Lab may receive from the NDAA. The Democrat has worked to secure more money for the lab beyond Trump’s original budget over the years, his office said.
In Rome Lab budget numbers, provide by Schumer’s office, the senator has helped the lab receive $32 million in 2019, $26.5 million in 2018, $5 million in 2017 and $4.5 million in 2016.
“This federal funding authorization 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,” Schumer said. “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 Lab a central part of that effort.”
Schumer further stated that the lab has delivered real results in developing and enhancing the nation’s cybersecurity infrastructure and has shown a commitment to employing local residents.
In the Senate version of the NDAA, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has a provision that would ensure that military installations could receive local dairy, fruits and vegetables. In a statement on the provision, Gillibrand said the provision is on the heels of a federal proposal by the Defense Commissary Agency idea to consolidate suppliers that would force New York’s farmers to ship their products out of state before they could distribute them to posts within the state.
“New York farmers grow and produce the best dairy, fruit, and vegetables, and it makes sense that our states’ military bases turn to them to supply their commissaries,” the Democrat said in a statement. “It was unreasonable that the Department of Defense would consider putting in place a new, inefficient model that would prevent our farmers from selling directly to bases and instead ship products away from our state before they could be shipped back to the men and women on New York’s bases, and that would have hurt our farmers.”
Contact reporter Ed Harris at 315-792-5063 or follow him on Twitter (@OD_EHarris).
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