Rome (WSYR-TV) -- The Senate announced Wednesday that it will now require the Air Force to develop a strategy to strengthen America’s cyber-security with new research and development coming from places like Rome Labs at Griffis Business Park.
The once strong air base has transformed itself into a new kind of military installation over the past 20 years with Rome labs at the center of it all.
"We think from a Department of Defense (DOD) standpoint, from an Air Force standpoint, the Lab is here not by accident. The Lab is part of a very robust ecosystem,” explained Mohawk Valley EDGE President Steve DiMeo.
The victim of the base closings in 1993, the people who transformed Griffis aren’t resting on their laurels. With the threat of another round of closings in the next couple of years, the State has awarded four groups at Griffis $1.2-million in grants to strengthen and support military installations like this one.
"The Air Force Research Lab can thrive in a corporate and business technology park, it doesn't have to be part of an active military installation,” DiMeo continued.
It’s not the Cold War anymore when the B52 mission dominated Griffis, instead the Defense Department has moved to smaller types of technology that could be equally or even more devastating. Cyber threats are a primary focus now.
“All of which goes to helping our war fighter in the field, but also these capabilities apply to other domains,” said Mary Carol Chruscicki, Cyber New York Alliance.
The lab they say is the centerpiece of a strong system in the region that includes universities and businesses.
"We have the potential of being what some people used to recognize Silicon Valley on the West Coast of being the ultimate high tech location of the county and I will say New York will be that Center of Excellence on the East Coast,” Chruscicki continued.
DiMeo and Chruscicki say the best way to fend off any cuts is to go on the offensive and make Rome Labs at the surrounding Griffis Business Park as strong as it can be.
The State has also awarded $600,000 to Fort Drum and $100,000 to Hancock Field Air National Guard Base.