April 3, 2024

By Sean I. Mills


ROME — U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik was in Rome on Tuesday to highlight more than $415 million she helped secure for work at the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Rome facility through the Fiscal Year 2024 Appropriations Bill.

“This is a tremendous investment. This goes towards quantum research, this goes towards cyber, this goes towards counter-UAS (unmanned aerial systems),” Stefanik, R-21, announced at the Griffiss Institute, a non-profit that works hand-in-hand with Rome Lab. She noted that the $415 million was twice last year’s investment.

“So all the emerging technologies, when we consider future national security challenges, we will be the leaders right here in Rome, and I am proud to have delivered that significant funding.”

The money will be broken down to be used on various projects at Rome Labs, from $25 million for the Future Flag operational experimentation, $10 million for photonic chips for quantum computing, $20 million for a secure quantum computing facility to $20 million for antenna development for assured communications and networks, among many other projects.

“This is going to the most critical, technological challenges that national security thinkers are focused on. So quantum, making sure that we have the best quantum technology. Cybersecurity, making sure that we have the strongest cyber research and development, and a talent pipeline of workers to go into cybersecurity, as well as counter-UAS, so unmanned aeriel systems, drones. These are critical missions that the DOD (Department of Defense) is focused on, and the research and development is happening right here in Rome,” said Stefanik.

The money “shows that the federal government understands that Rome is unlike anywhere else. And the research that’s being conducted at Rome Lab is world-class and it meets our national security challenges and mission of the 21st century. So we will continue to advocate for investment here.”

Stefanik also announced the Defense Quantum Acceleration Act, a new bill she will introduce to Congress that will be focused on integrating quantum technology across DOD operations. Stefanik said it will help the U.S. remain the world leader in quantum sciences.

Rome, and Griffiss Park, will be part of the 21st Congressional District as part of the state’s redistricting legislation signed into law earlier this year. Stefanik, who is seeking re-election, already represents Watertown, home to the sprawling Fort Drum Army base.

The congresswoman was joined at her announcement by Rome Mayor Jeffrey M. Lanigan, Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr., State Senator Joseph A. Griffo and Heather Hage, president and CEO of the Griffiss Institute.

“This is great news for our city, for our area,” said Lanigan.

“It’s going to help our city continue to grow and bring more people here and make this a destination for people who want to be here and start their careers and advance our security.”