After reports of diversions of military construction project funds, congressman declares Rome Lab off the chopping block
Congressman Anthony Brindisi issued the following statement regarding the Pentagon’s decision to redirect $3.6 billion from 127 existing military construction projects:
“The sensitive work done at Rome Lab places it at a high risk and protecting these funds will help directly ensure the safety of thousands of Rome Lab employees against potential terrorist threats. I have been notified by the Air Force that these vital dollars for Rome Lab will not be diverted. We need to secure our borders, but we cannot put other aspects of our national security at risk.”
The Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act authorized $14.2 million in additional funding for security upgrades at Rome Lab. Brindisi, a longtime champion of the mission at Rome Lab, previously testified before the House Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee in support of this project. Additionally, Brindisi supported a provision in the House version of the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act prohibiting Department of Defense funds from being used on a border wall. Earlier this year, Brindisi sent a letter to the committee leadership calling for protection of these funds. That letter is below:
Dear Chairwoman Wasserman Schultz and Ranking Member Carter:
As the Subcommittee on Military Construction,Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies works to prepare the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Appropriations bill, I am writing to request your support for the Anti-Terrorism Perimeter Security/Entry Control Point military construction (MilCon) project at the Air Force Research Laboratory in Rome, New York (Rome Lab).
I am thankful that the committee recognized this project’s importance by including the full $14.2 million for the project in its FY 2019 appropriations. However, the Trump Administration’s plan to redirect military construction funding toward the construction of a border wall places this important project at risk of being delayed or cancelled. I respectfully request that the committee protect the funding for the perimeter security project at Rome Lab to ensure that the project is not disrupted.
The Anti-Terrorism Perimeter Security/Entry Control Point MilCon project would include fencing, lighting, video surveillance, card-controlled personal entry access gates, and a visitor control entry point. Rome Lab conducts extremely sensitive research and development projects including cutting edge cyber, quantum computing, and counter-UAS research. The sensitive work done at the lab places it at a higher risk, and ensuring these funds are appropriated will help directly to ensure the safety of over 3,000 employees against potential terrorist threats.
The Air Force has carefully studied and planned for this project, which is required to improve the safety and security of the Lab, its employees, and the sensitive information and technology they are working on. This project will improve the Lab’s security by safeguarding it against potential threats, including terrorism, and will help protect the life and safety of my constituents.
In a time of limited resources and competing priorities, I urge the committee to protect the previously appropriated funding for Rome Lab’s Anti-Terrorism Perimeter Security/Entry Control Point MilCon project in FY 2020.
Sincerely, Rep. Anthony Brindisi