Senate panel advances funding for Bozeman defense projects

Measure will boost area jobs through development of new military equipment, technology

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Senator Jon Tester and his colleagues on the Senate Appropriations Committee have passed legislation that will create jobs and boost national security by funding several defense research projects underway in the Bozeman area, Tester and Senator Max Baucus announced today.

The Senate Defense Appropriations Act includes funding to develop new equipment for troops in the battlefield as well as support for research and development. 

The legislation includes funding for:

  • FLIR Systems to build portable long-range infrared sensors so that special operations forces can conduct improved surveillance from relatively safe distances.  FLIR Systems continues to expand its presence in Montana as orders for these sensors continue to grow, having increased from about 35 employees in 2007 to more than 60 today. ($5 million)
  • Montana State University to hire new workers and expand its MilTech program, which helps small businesses develop and market new technology for the military.  MilTech has helped more than 50 Montana companies win defense contracts. ($2 million)
  • Federal Technology Group to develop a cost-effective and efficient LED lighting system to provide energy savings at military buildings. ($3 million)
  • Square One/Western Transportation Institute to develop an advanced motion simulator to provide a more realistic training experience for troops. ($500,000)
  • LigoCyte to develop a vaccine against norovirus, which poses a significant challenge at military installations. ($5 million)

“LigoCyte is excited to see the confidence that Senators Tester and Baucus have placed in our norovirus vaccine development efforts,” said Robert Bargatze, Executive Vice President of LigoCyte Pharmaceuticals.  “Norovirus is a leading cause of infectious gastroenteritis, which can significantly impact military readiness.  It disproportionally affects children under five years old and can cause very serious illness. This appropriation will help us expand research efforts to combat this deadly virus.”

“Montana small businesses are no strangers to helping bolster our American national security,” Tester said.  “These are worthy projects that will make our troops in the field safer, and will create good-paying jobs in Montana in the process.  They’re exactly the kinds of projects I’m proud to support in Congress.”

“This funding will mean more local companies putting more Montanans to work, boosting the safety of all Americans,” Baucus said. “These are important investments that I am proud to support and that will pay off in the long term—not just for Montana, but for the entire country.”

For a full list of funding for Montana under the Defense Appropriations Act, click HERE.

What is an appropriations bill?
  • A federal appropriations bill funds the federal government.  12 appropriations bills will fund the federal government for the next Fiscal Year.
  • Less than one half of one percent of these appropriations bills consist of congressionally directed funding (also called “earmarks”).  This funding is not additional spending for the federal government, nor does it increase federal deficit.  Rather, it is a set of directions telling the government where it must use existing funds.
  • In the past, appropriations funding had been abused by anonymous requests with little transparency.
  • Since 2007, the process was overhauled to guarantee transparency and fair debate in Congress.
  • All of Tester’s and Baucus’ appropriations requests are online HERE and HERE.