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Politics and Government

Security system at Air Force's Rome lab under scrutiny

Griffiss Institute

Members of New York's Congressional delegation are trying to secure funding to build a fence around the Air Force Research Laboratory in Rome. Without the proper security, they fear the "Rome Lab" is potentially vulnerable to terrorist attacks.

The Rome Lab at the Griffiss International Airport has been on the cutting edge of the Air Force's research and development in information technology and cyber intelligence. But some fear the current security system at the 67-year-old facility is falling behind. To keep it in compliance with Department of Defense antiterrorism protection requirements, the secretary of the Air Force has requested funding for a perimeter fence with features like video surveillance and card-controlled entry.

In testimony before a House subcommittee this month, Mohawk Valley Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford) said two Department of Defense reviews of the Rome lab in 2008 and 2014 found security vulnerability risks.

"Indeed, in the last 10 years, over 240 individuals were detained, interviewed and released by security at Rome lab due to the lack of a perimeter security," Tenney said. "That is far too long a time to allow the site to remain unsecured."

The requested fencing would cost $14.2 million. If approved, the funding would be on top of the $243 million the Rome Lab received in the latest federal spending bill.