01.30.15

SCHUMER PUSHES FOR CRITICAL FEDERAL FUNDING TO KEEP RIT PARTNERSHIP WITH U.S. NAVY ALIVE – PARTNERSHIP DEVELOPS COST-EFFECTIVE WAYS TO REHAB, UPGRADE MILITARY EQUIPMENT FOR TROOPS; BUT PROGRAM IS NOT SCHEDULED TO RECEIVE FED FUNDING THIS YEAR OR NEXT, PUTTING FUTURE RESEARCH AT RISK

Schumer Has Long Championed 10+ Year Public-Private Partnership Between RIT & Dept. of Defense –RIT Built State-of-the-Art Lab To Develop Cost-Effective Ways to Rehab, Modernize Military Equipment for Troops’ Use

In July, Schumer Announced That, Following His Push, RIT Would Receive More Than $350K For Military Equipment Modernization Research in 2014 & That RIT Had Received Three-Year Contract With Ceiling of $2.1 Million, But Navy Has Not Allocated Funding For Lab In 2015 or 2016 Budget – Schumer Calls on Navy to Find Funding to Continue Program in 2015 & 2016

 

Schumer: RIT Deserves Funding To Create Jobs, Invest in New Technology & Continue Keeping Our Troops Safe

 

Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer called on the Secretary of the Navy to provide additional federal funding for an ongoing research program at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) that works with the Department of Defense (DOD) to find and develop cost-effective ways to rehab and upgrade equipment for military personnel. Schumer explained that RIT built a state-of-the-art laboratory so that it could continue its over 10-year partnership with the DOD to extend the life of Navy and Marine Corps equipment in a more sustainable and economical way, but the entire program is currently at risk because funding was not allocated to RIT’s groundbreaking research program in Fiscal Year (FY) 2015. RIT did receive a $354,425 allotment of funding in 2014, but no funding has been appropriated in future years despite RIT receiving a three-year contract for up to $2,147,000 to continue its work. Since no funding has been allocated in 2015, Schumer said the Navy must find funding from other sources to continue to fund this program. Schumer today called on the Navy Secretary to work with the Office of Naval Research (ONR) to find funding within its FY 2015 appropriations request to continue RIT’s equipment modernizing research program this year. Schumer is also calling on the Navy to include a specific funding request for the remaining $1,792,575 for this research program in its FY 2016 budget submission to Congress. Schumer said that this investment could save the Navy money over the long-term since RIT’s research helps extend the life of equipment, meaning the Navy would need to spend less on replacements.

 

“The long-standing partnership between RIT and the Department of Defense is one that benefits the local economy as well as our brave men and women serving overseas, which is why we need to make sure this program continues to be funded in 2015 and 2016. Through its groundbreaking research, RIT has developed cost-effective ways to upgrade and modernize equipment for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, which reduces equipment maintenance costs and boosts the safety of our service members. This worthwhile program has received only a portion of the federal funds for which it was approved, and that is why I am calling on the Navy to find ways to continue a program that means high-tech jobs for area residents, greater investment in new technology, and better equipment for our troops,” said Schumer. “The continuation of this program would be a win-win-win for Rochester residents, RIT and the U.S. military. I have never stopped fighting for RIT, and will keep pushing so this program’s groundbreaking work does not lapse.”

 

Schumer explained that there is a pressing need across the Armed Services to make cost-effective, sustainable improvements to military equipment in order to extend life cycles of existing equipment systems. RIT’s research has helped develop technologies that modernize and upgrade these systems, thereby reducing the costs to repair and maintain this military equipment while simultaneously enhancing the safety of our service members. That is why Schumer is calling on the Navy Secretary to work with the ONR to find funding for this worthwhile program within its 2015 appropriations budget. In addition to the over $354,425 already allocated to RIT’s research partnership, Schumer is calling on the Navy to include a specific funding request for the remaining funding—$1,792,575— in its FY 2016 budget submission to Congress, so that RIT can receive the full $2.1 million it has been allotted.

 

Schumer has long been a champion of RIT’s 10-year partnership with DOD. In July 2014, Schumer announced that RIT would receive $354,425 in federal funds for this program for FY 2014, with a contract ceiling of $2,147,000 to allow for future work. In January 2014, Schumer announced that the passage of the FY2014 omnibus funding bill set the stage for RIT to land a new research contract with the Navy. In his letter to the Commandant of the United States Marine Corps and the Director of the Office of Naval Research, Schumer supported an over $1 million research contract for the Navy and stated that he would continue to push to ensure award of a research contract for the Rochester Institute of Technology.

 

Beginning over a decade ago, Senator Schumer helped secure funding for the Department of Defense and RIT to build this state-of-the-art lab at RIT to work on critical defense modernization and sustainment initiatives. RIT developed cost-effective ways to rehab or upgrade military equipment, which extended the life of the equipment.  With last year’s passage of the Fiscal Year 2015 Omnibus Appropriations Bill and Senator Schumer’s push to secure this contract this year, RIT can begin working on the important mission of delivering our Navy the gear it needs while bringing jobs and technology to the Rochester area.

 

A copy of Senator Schumer’s letter to the Secretary of the Navy appears below:

 

Dear Secretary Ray Mabus:

 

CC: ONR Director Dr. Walter F. Jones; U.S. Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, Jr.

 

As you finalize your FY 2016 budget submission for the Navy, I urge you to request additional funding for an ongoing program of research at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) that has provided quality support, research, and technology to the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps for more than a decade.

 

Over the last ten years, Congress has invested $24.5 million in the manufacturing research laboratory at RIT to recondition heavily used Marine Corps equipment, such as the Light Armored Vehicles (LAV).  The funding has allowed the laboratory to develop new technologies, upgrade legacy system capabilities, modernize outdated legacy systems, and make systems operations more environmentally and economically sustainable.  This research has been extremely successful. In fact, RIT was recently awarded a three year $2,147,000 research contract with ONR and was allocated $354,425 in Fiscal Year 2014 to continue this research.  In Fiscal Years 2015 in 2016, however, no funding was appropriated to the program. Any funding the program receives over the next two fiscal years must be reallocated from other programs.

 

Given the current budget constraints of the Department of Defense, there is a pressing need across the Armed Services to reduce costs and to extend the life-cycles of existing systems. Life cycle research programs help develop technologies that optimize equipment systems, thereby reducing the costs of repair and maintenance and enhancing the safety of our service members.  I strongly urge you to encourage ONR to find funding within its FY 2015 appropriations request to continue this program in FY 2015.  I am also hopeful that you will include a specific funding request of $1,792,575 for this research program in your FY 2016 budget submission to Congress, and consider including appropriate funding for continuation of this program in your FY 2017 budget submission.

 

The significant investment that Congress has already made in this laboratory and the groundbreaking work it has already achieved should not lapse, especially given the need to create cost-effective, sustainable improvements to the equipment of the military.

 

If needed, I would be happy to assist staff and ONR officials with this request. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

 

Sincerely,

 

Charles Schumer

United States Senator



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