Senate panel clears funding for Missoula defense projects

Measure will boost area jobs, equip troops with cutting edge 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 projects in the Missoula 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 protection for the nation’s nuclear arsenal. 

The legislation includes funding for:

  • TerraEchos to continue development of a high-tech sensor system designed to provide new security protections at sensitive bases and facilities throughout the Department of Defense.  TerraEchos has partnered on this project with S&K Electronics, ensuring that most manufacturing of the sensor system will occur in Montana. ($4.5 million)
  • The University of Montana to expand its training program for the military on critical language and culture studies ($2.5 million), and to develop a new magnetic-based computer memory system that does not require electrical power to maintain its information. ($1 million)

“We are very grateful for the continuing support of Senators Tester and Baucus for The University of Montana Mansfield Center’s Defense Critical Language and Culture Program,” said Terry M. Weidner, Executive Director of the Defense Critical Language & Culture Program.  “Properly preparing our deploying soldiers with the language and cultural knowledge appropriate to their combat area is very consistent with the legacy of Mike Mansfield, and provides one more way that we can capitalize on the diverse academic strengths of the University of Montana. We’re proud to be able to provide this service for our young men and women serving in combat.”

The Montana National Guard is a heavy user of the University’s defense critical languages and cultures program, having sent soldiers through the program prior to deployment.

“These are worthy projects that will help the men and women who defend this country,” Tester said.  “Montanans are no strangers to helping strengthen our national security and these investments will continue that important tradition.”

“This is important funding that will improve the safety of America’s communities while also putting folks to work in Montana,” Baucus said. “There is nobody better equipped for these jobs than Montanans, and I am proud to support this funding 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.