Sen. Charles E. Schumer is proposing a research partnership between the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station and the University at Buffalo as part of a strategy of ensuring the base's long-term future.
Schumer, D-N.Y., wrote Thursday to the Air Force chief of staff, Gen. Nolan Schwartz, to propose the idea.
"The Niagara Falls Air Force Base, with its close proximity to institutions of higher education and private sector industries, is a prime location for the Air Force's next research hub," Schumer wrote. "Specifically, I believe there are a number of areas where our military needs to continue to expand its research and development that Western New York is already a national leader in."
Schumer asked that Schwartz and several other top Air Force officials meet with him and UB leaders who would be involved in the effort -- which the university wholeheartedly endorsed.
"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," said Alexander Cartwright, vice president for research and economic development at UB.
Cartwright said UB's involvement with the Air Force could improve the nation's defenses.
And Schumer said UB could be particularly helpful in bolstering Medivac technology, developing cutting-edge intelligence and surveillance methods, and bolstering border management.
"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," Schumer said. "This potential partnership can create national centers of research and action that are critical both to Western New York and our national security."