FORTIFICATION SOUGHT — Elected federal officias say they are seeking a fence and other fortifications to better secure the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Rome facility at Griffiss park, whose entrance is shown here. (Sentinel photo by John Clifford)

Federal reps seek funds to fortify security at Rome Lab

Published Apr 19, 2018 at 4:00pm

Congressional members representing the area are aiming to enhance security for the Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate in Rome, including the proposed addition of a perimeter fence around the Griffiss park site.

The efforts in support of the facility, commonly called the Rome lab, were announced Wednesday by U.S. Rep. Charles Schumer, D-NY, and Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-22, New Hartford.

• Schumer said he is seeking to secure $14.2 million to fortify security at the lab in the fiscal 2019 Military Construction Appropriation bill.

The funding would enhance anti-terrorism perimeter security and entry-point controls, according to his announcement.

“Rome lab is a national leader in countering cyber-threats, and an engine for economic growth right here in the Mohawk Valley. So we must ensure the lab has the funding it needs to advance research and development and that it also has a secure perimeter protecting its assets,” said Schumer. “As the Senate Democratic Leader, with one of four seats at the table for budget negotiations, I will do everything I can to ensure Rome lab has all the resources...to continue its critical mission.”

The announcement said the proposed construction would comply with Department of Defense antiterrorism protection requirements by constructing a security fence around the lab’s perimeter equipped with associated lighting, video surveillance, card-controlled personnel entry access gates, and visitor control-entry point to mitigate threats from vehicle-borne improvised devices.

An adequate and secure location is required to protect lab personnel left vulnerable to potential terrorist-type activities, active shooters, and other criminal activity, said Schumer.

• Tenney advocated for a perimeter fence around the Rome lab while testifying before the Appropriations Subcommittee on Military, Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies.

Tenney said “the highly sensitive nature of Rome lab’s research and development projects place the site at a heightened risk....The critical work conducted at Rome lab necessitates appropriate security safeguards, including a secure system of perimeter fencing. Without this important precaution, the facility’s sensitive information is left extremely vulnerable.”

A security fence around the perimeter also will increase the safety of the lab’s personnel and reduce the facility’s susceptibility to terrorist-type activities, said Tenney. She said “I urge the members of the Appropriations Committee to fund the perimeter fence by including my request in the National Defense Authorization Act.”

Tenney provided the testimony in support of the request submitted to Congress by the Secretary of the Air Force, according to her announcement.