Gillibrand says amendment supports AF lab in Rome

A key U.S. Senate committee approval of a defense policy bill includes an amendment requiring an Air Force strategy to strengthen cyber security through new research at sites like the Air Force lab in Rome, says U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

Gillibrand, D-NY, said Thursday her amendment was part of the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee, of which she is a member. The bill moves to the full Senate for final passage, before it is reconciled with a version passed last week in the House.

The Senate amendment on cyber technology strategy calls for details including projected funding and personnel to address priorities; how the Air Force will recruit and retain an associated workforce; and laboratory infrastructure and facilities needed.

"Cyber technology is playing an essential role in our national security and economic growth, with the Rome Research Lab leading the way in new innovation that I have seen firsthand," Gillibrand said in a statement. "If we’re going to protect our defense technology, and keep America’s networks and infrastructure safe from attack, we need a thorough strategy for new research that can spark new technology."

The House version also included an Air Force research-related amendment; it would require the secretary of defense to submit a report that seeks commitments and addresses specific questions about the future of Rome lab and other Air Force research sites, said Rep. Richard Hanna, R-24, Barneveld. Future budgets and personnel recruitment are among topics.

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Hanna and Gillibrand expressed concern in February over a proposed 2013 defense budget cut of about $30 million for the Rome lab.