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Congressmembers Tenney, Katko Tour Griffiss High-Tech Facilities In Rome And Discuss Their Role In Combatting Threats

tenney katko in rome.jpg
Scott Willis
Left to right, Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-22, New Hartford; Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente; and Rep. John Katko, R-24, Camillus gather at Innovare at Griffiss Business and Technology Park Monday.

Central New York Congressmember Claudia Tenney hosted fellow representative John Katko Monday in Rome to give him an overview of the high-tech research and development begin done to thwart cyber attacks and other threats. Katko is the ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee, and says the work being done at the Air Force Research Lab, or Rome Lab, is remarkable and imperative for the defense of the nation.

"There's a rush to see who gets better with quantum computing, us or China. If China [beats] us, our encryption data is for nothing. So many things they're working on that impact us in every single way."

Rep. Tenney investments at the operations at Griffiss Business and Technology Park are saving lives.

"Our ability to really act with an asymmetrical battlefield that we have now with the Chinese, Russians, and Iran...there are so many enemies out there. This is where we're going, and it's happening here. Which is what's so exciting about it."

Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente says it's important not only for national security, but also for the region's economy, brain trust, and livelihood.

"What is taking place here is not taking place anywhere in the country. Now, someone might say yes it is. Not to the extent that it is, not to the diversity that it is, in terms of all the aspects of cybersecurity, quantum computing, all aspects of technology that have been developed and continue to be developed on a regular basis."

Tenney says their visit is their way to ensure accountability for the funds they secure in Congress.

"We're the ones who have advocated for it, and when we come here and see how the money is being spent and hear about it, I think it means a lot."

Rome Mayor Jackie Izzo says they're questioned about the reason they send funding requests.

"We wanted you to come what your plus-ups are doing in facilities like these. We wanted you to meet the super-talented people that we have working here that cannot be replicated. You can't just pick up our lab and think you're going to take all that talent and just move it somewhere else."

Rep. Tenney also announced the addition of 100 jobs at Defense Finance and Accounting Services, or DFAS since April. That brings their total workforce to more than 1,000. She says they’re working every day in Congress with Senators Schumer and Gillibrand to ensure funding for all of the operations at Griffiss Business and Technology Park don’t get cut.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at