Senate panel advances funding for Butte 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 projects in the Butte 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 defense-related research and development. 

The legislation includes funding for:

  • MSE to develop wearable solar power units for soldiers to wear in combat zones.  This equipment will provide soldiers with a lightweight, portable power source, which will reduce the weight carried by troops.  ($3 million)
  • Resodyn, in Butte, to research innovative methods to treat battlefield wounds in order to save limbs after wounded troops leave the combat zone.  According to the VA, approximately six percent of Operation Iraqi Freedom casualties suffered limb loss, often due to improvised explosive device (IED) explosions. ($4 million)
  • Synesis7 to convert Navy and Marine Corps paper data into digital format. ($10 million)  
  • MSE to develop low-temperature, low cost, environmentally sound alternatives for the demilitarization of obsolete smoke screen canisters. ($2.5 million)  
  • UTRS to develop and produce domestic lower-cost titanium for the Army, instead of relying on foreign sources. ($6 million)
  • National Center for Healthcare Informatics to develop simulation training battlefield trauma environments to aid the military in preparing troops for combat operations. ($3 million)
  • The PEAK to continue training Air Force personnel for pararescue operations in Montana. ($3 million)

“This is great news for Butte-Silver Bow.  It is clear that Senators Tester and Baucus understand that this federal investment is a critical step forward for our titanium research,” said Mike Lewis, Director of Business Development for UTRS.  “This kind of smart investment will allow us to hire more people, grow our research, and help the economy of southwest Montana.”
“We are grateful for the funding that Senators Tester and Baucus have been able to secure,” said Larry Farrar, President of Resodyn.  “Our research  will provide medical breakthroughs in which battlefield wounds can be repaired rather than have limbs replaced with prosthesis, as well as restore human functions that will improve the quality of life.  This funding will assist Resodyn Corporation to continue to develop unique, world class capabilities in Butte, that will provide high-quality, well-paying jobs, as well as assist in our continued growth in the community.”
“These are cutting-edge projects that allow Montanans to help our military personnel to do their jobs better and save lives,” Tester said.  “Investing in research that will help make keep our soldiers and our country safe  while creating good-paying jobs in the process is a win-win-win situation that I’m proud to support.”

“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,” Baucus said. “This funding will mean more critical research is done in Butte that will benefit our 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.