State funds to defend Griffiss, sites

Published Apr 19, 2017 at 4:02pm

There’s $3 million in the new state budget to help protect and enhance New York’s current and former military facilities, including Griffiss Business and Technology Park.

Within Griffiss, a portion of this money will be used to strengthen and retain the Air Force Research Laboratory, the Defense Finance and Accounting Service center, and the Eastern Air Defense Sector, state Sen. Joseph A. Griffo, R-47, Rome, and Assemblyman Anthony J. Brindisi, D-119, Utica, reported Wednesday. These installations are the major employers in the business park, supporting some 2,500 direct jobs.

The $3 million will be split among such installations as Griffiss, the Fort Drum Army base outside Watertown, the Fort Hamilton Army base in Brooklyn and the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station. Past state spending plans have included similar allocations, including $4 million last year. The Griffiss share is generally provided to the Griffiss Local Development Corp., which oversees redevelopment of the former Air Force base and has been a leader in efforts to keep the military installations in Rome.

“It is incumbent upon the political leaders of this region to always remain vigilant in the defense of the Air Force Research Laboratory, DFAS and EADS,” said Rome Mayor Jacqueline M. Izzo. “Together, they drive the economic vitality of the region, and more importantly, they are vital partners in our nation’s defense.”

No federal base realignment and closure reviews are currently scheduled.

“By safeguarding the military assets in our region and New York state against any potential future actions that could jeopardize or downsize these operations, this funding will help ensure that thousands of jobs are maintained in the Mohawk Valley while these installations continue to benefit our economic, academic and national security interests,” said a statement issued by Brindisi and Griffo.

“Senator Griffo and Assemblyman Brindisi continue to step forward for the Mohawk Valley region and provide unwavering support for Rome lab, EADS and DFAS,” said Mary Carol Chruscicki, executive director of the Central New York Defense Alliance. “They truly understand the importance of New York’s military facilities to our economy and our nation’s security.”

The Air Force Research Laboratory’s Rome facility had an area economic impact estimated at $355 million in its 2016 fiscal year, up $42 million or 13.5 percent. In addition, the Rome lab received more than $1.1 billion in funding from various Defense Department categories and affiliated agencies, marking another new high for that funding, according to a December announcement by Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. It is headquarters for the overall AFRL.