Schumer Urges Air Force to Enter Research Partnership with UB at Niagara Falls Air Force Base

June 21, 2012 Updated Jun 21, 2012 at 11:44 AM EDT

By WKBW News

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Schumer Urges Air Force to Enter Research Partnership with UB at Niagara Falls Air Force Base

June 21, 2012 Updated Jun 21, 2012 at 11:44 AM EDT

(WKBW release) Thursday, New York Senator Charles E. Schumer urged the Air Force to enter a unique research partnership with the University at Buffalo at the Niagara Falls Air Base.

According to a news release:

Schumer highlighted three key areas of Western New York expertise that would boost the Air Force’s mission, while helping to secure Niagara Falls Air Force Base’s long-term success in the region.

Specifically, Schumer invited General Norman Schwartz, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, to meet with him, Lieutenant General Dr. Charles B. Green, Maj. Gen. William N. McCasland, Lt. Gen. Larry D. James, and top researchers and leaders from the University at Buffalo to map out a research partnership between the UB and the Niagara Falls Air Force Base.

Schumer highlighted three key areas of expertise in Western New York, from which the Air Force could benefit: improving Medivac technology, developing cutting-edge intelligence and surveillance methods, and bolstering border management. Earlier this year, Senator Schumer helped keep NFARS open in the face of the Department of Defense’s base closure plan.  Now, Schumer is championing a strategic partnership between NFARS and the University at Buffalo that would keep the base open and further the nation’s national security goals. 

“A cutting-edge research partnership between top scientists at University at Buffalo and Air Force located at the Niagara Falls Air Force Base is a match made in heaven. This potential partnership can create national centers of research and action that are critical both to Western New York and our national security, so I am urging the Air Force to forge a research partnership with UB that will simultaneously boost the Air Force’s mission and secure NFARS’s presence in the region for years to come. By keeping jobs in Western New York and furthering crucial areas of research for the U.S. military, this partnership would be a win-win for the Western New York community and the Air Force, which stands to benefit from Buffalo’s experts in informatics and systems research and more,” Senator Schumer said.  “NFARS’ proximity to the University at Buffalo, the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, and the U.S.-Canadian border make this potential partnership a perfect fit. I will work with top Air Force officials and the leaders and researchers at University at Buffalo, so that this partnership can take flight.”

“We have been working with Senator Schumer on ways that we can leverage the capabilities of the base and we are eager to explore partnership opportunities with the Air Force. Such a partnership between UB and the Air Force can help strengthen our national defense,  and we are truly excited about the opportunities that exist at NFARS,” said Alexander Cartwright, Vice President for Research and Economic Development at the University at Buffalo.

In his letter, Senator Schumer cites three areas of research in which the Air Force would benefit from a partnership with the University at Buffalo. Schumer first proposal is to leverage the University at Buffalo’s proximity to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, which has developed ground-breaking mass of life and health science industries, to create a Center for Military Medical Evacuation, Normalization, and Triage (CeMMENT) in order to enhance emergency medical care on the battlefield. 

Schumer also outlined plans to leverage the cutting-edge computer vision and information fusion research currently being conducted at the University at Buffalo to improve the Air Force’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations.  The Air Force continues to develop Unmanned Aerial Systems and therefore the raw data collected continues to grow. The variety of data that is captured, from high definition video streams to thermal imagery to audio data, adds to the challenge of developing useful information and producing complete pictures for decision making. The University at Buffalo is a research leader in developing cutting-edge computer vision and information fusion that can help make sense of the exponential growth in ISR data.

Finally, Schumer noted that the Air Force stands to benefit from utilizing NFARS’ proximity to the U.S.-Canadian border and the planned CBP station at the base to develop and evaluate border security technologies. The primary objective of this partnership would be to develop and evaluate cutting edge border security technologies, like biometrics, vehicle classification, situation awareness technologies, and more. This partnership would also help train existing security personnel and a new generation of DHS professionals.

This research partnership is part of Senator Schumer’s long-term plan to keep NFARS open after he helped it avoid closure last year.  Similar research partnerships exist at other bases throughout the country and have played a critical role in helping to keep those bases open throughout the past decade. The base, which is the sole military installation in the region, supports 2,630 jobs in western New York and generates $131 million worth of economic activity for the local economy.  Earlier this year, the Department of Homeland Security announced the construction of a new border patrol station at NFARS, which, along with its proximity to the U.S.-Canadian border, Senator Schumer believes could be a boon to the military’s research on border security.