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Congresswoman Claudia Tenney Hosts Congressman John Katko for a Tour Highlighting Rome’s High-Tech Ecosystem

August 30, 2021

Rome, NY – Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (NY-22) today hosted Ranking Member of the House Homeland Security Committee Congressman John Katko (NY-24) for a tour of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), also known as Rome Lab. The tour included an in depth look at the cutting-edge research being conducted at Rome Lab, including an overview of the advanced research and development in quantum as well as in communications and unmanned systems. Just this month, Rome Lab was designated as the Quantum Information Science Research Center for the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force, an exciting new development for our region.

In addition to Rome Lab, the lawmakers also toured Innovare Advancement Center and the UAS Test Site, which is one of only seven in the country. 

“Rome Lab is a world class hub of high-tech research and development. The Lab’s work directly benefits our national security, which is why I hosted the Republican leader of the House Homeland Security Committee, Congressman John Katko, today,” said Congresswoman Claudia Tenney. “Every dollar we invest in Rome’s research capabilities improves our defenses and makes our nation more secure. It also continues to drive growth and innovation right here in Central New York.”

“In my position as the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, I know first-hand the breadth of threats aimed at the United States. The work and research being done by Rome Labs helps protect Americans from threats every day, while also playing a critical role in advancing Central New York as a hub for developing cutting edge technologies. I am proud to join Rep. Tenney in visiting Rome Labs today, and discussing how we in Congress can enhance the groundbreaking work being done here," said Congressman John Katko.

Tenney and Katko were joined by local and state elected officials as well as business and community leaders including Rome Mayor Jacqueline M. Izzo, Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente, New York State Senator Joe Griffo, President and CEO Griffiss Institute Heather Hage, and CNY Defense Alliance Executive Director Mary Carol Chruscicki.

“It was a pleasure to host Congresswoman Claudia Tenney and Congressman John Katko today at Rome Lab and Innovare Advancement Center. It is vitally important for our federal representatives to understand the important research and development activities of Rome Lab in the areas of cybersecurity, artificial intelligence (AI), unmanned aerial systems (UAS), and the very recent announcement designating AFRL Rome as the lead in quantum computing R&D initiatives. Innovare Advancement Center and the Tech Garden in Syracuse encourage entrepreneurship and small business nurturing in addition to taking advantage of the 50 mile UAS corridor from Griffiss to Syracuse creating a research and development partnership from the Mohawk Valley to the Central New York region. The cutting edge research and development performed at Rome Lab is vitally important to our nation’s defense and we thank the Congresswoman and Congressman for their support of the Lab as evidenced by their visit here today,” said Mayor Jacqueline M. Izzo.

"I am pleased that Congresswoman Tenney and Congressman Katko were able to visit Rome Lab, the Innovare Advancement Center, Skydome, the New York UAS Test Site and other locations within the Griffiss Business and Technology Park to learn more about the important work that is taking place in the region. Their voices will be important and necessary to advocate for the resources to keep these facilities viable and here in the Mohawk Valley," stated NY State Senator Joe Griffo.

“We are grateful to have congressional interest and support from New York’s 22nd and 24th congressional districts as we accelerate STEM talent and new technologies through international academic-industry collaboration at Innovare Advancement Center, in partnership with Rome Lab, SUNY, Oneida County, the City of Rome, and the vibrant high tech community of the Mohawk Valley, which are so very proud to serve,” said Heather Hage, President & CEO of Griffiss Institute.

"The Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate and the NY Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Test Site are critical federal research assets that enable our warfighter and our country. They drive innovation and public-private collaboration as demonstrated by the creation of Innovare Advancement Center, SkyDome and the UAS corridor between Rome and Syracuse. Our high tech region is growing and thriving because of the continued support we receive from Congressman Tenney and Congressman Katko," stated Mary Carol Chruscicki, CNY Defense Alliance, Executive Director. "It was an honor to support their visit today and showcase the next generation information technologies in quantum, communications, artificial intelligence and unmanned aerial systems that are jump started by federal investments, while creating thousands of local high-tech jobs and funding opportunities for a diverse business ecosystem.

Tenney backed a federal funding request in Congress for the AFRL Information Directorate. She is seeking $10 million in funding for a quantum network computing testbed, $10 million for the first and only government-owned Unmanned Aircraft Systems traffic management system, and $10 million for an artificial intelligence and machine learning experimentation and transition bed. If procured, this funding will strengthen research efforts at the lab and result in further job creation in the region.