Senate approves nearly $40 million for Montana defense projects

Measure includes pay raise for troops, critical funding for wildfires, LIHEAP

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Montana U.S. Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester today praised the Senate for passing a measure that contains $39.6 million for various military and defense research projects across the Big Sky State.

The money is part of an overall bill that funds the U.S. Departments of Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans’ Affairs.

The legislation also increases pay for U.S. troops by 3.9 percent.  It also boosts funding for millions of Americans who rely on the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, raising the average grant from $355 to $550.  And it increases funding for fighting western wildfires by $910 million.

The Senators secured funding for the following Montana projects:


  • $1.6 million for Montana State University’s Mil Tech Extension Program, which helps small business bring critical new technology to the U.S. military.


  • $1.6 million for the Blackfeet Nation’s Adaptive Lightweight Materials Technology for Missile Defense project, which builds and tests lightweight materials to improve missile performance at lower costs.


  • $1.6 million for MSE’s DEPUTEE program to develop a non-lethal vehicle disabling technology to protect sites important to national nuclear security.
  • $2 million for Montana Tech’s Low Acoustic and Thermal Signature Battlefield Power Source research, which is developing a battlefield fuel cell for use as a power source. 
  • $1.6 million for MSE’s Cryofracture/Plasma Arc Demobilization Program, which will build a system that freezes, crushes and safely destroys dangerous or outdated munitions. 
  • $3.2 million for MSE’s Mariah Hypersonic Wind Tunnel Development Program, which is developing state-of-the-art wind tunnel technology required to test a new generation of missiles, space vehicles and aircraft using new propulsion technology.  
  • $800,000 for MSE’s Watchkeeper Program, a rapidly deployable and self-contained sensor network that can identify hostile forces for the U.S. military. 
  • $3 million for Universial Technical Resource Services’ Titanium Extraction, Mining and Process project, which will produce low-cost titanium that will directly benefit the United States military and commercial applications.


  • $10 million for Malmstrom Air Force Base to complete the first phase of its new weapons storage facility.
  • $3 million for the Montana National Guard’s I-HITS training program, which provides both training and live-combat technology to help American troops better identify friendly forces on the battlefield. 
  • $2.4 million for Synesis 7’s CPI-Metamorphose / i3 Tech Data Conversion project, which converts the technical data from physical copies of maintenance manuals into standardized electronic format.  This electronic format makes it easier to train maintenance workers, improves safety, and increases the efficiency of repair efforts on military aircraft.


  • $1.6 million for Western Computer Services’ Marine Expeditionary Rifle Squad project, which uses high-tech sensors to improve vision for U.S. troops in all-weather, all-combat conditions.


  • $1 million for St. Patrick Hospital’s International Heart Institute/U.S. Army Vascular Graft Research Project.  The project is developing freeze-dried vascular grafts made from animal tissue, which reduces the need for temporary shunts used in battlefield surgery.
  • $1 million for the University of Montana’s Amelioration of Military Hearing Loss Project, which treats hearing loss associated with battlefield trauma
  • $1.6 million for the University of Montana’s Defense-Critical Languages and Cultures Program, which teaches better proficiency in Chinese, Arabic and Persian languages. 
  • $1.6 million for American Eagle Instruments’ Advanced Surface Technologies for Prosthetic Development project, which will provide wounded troops with high-tech prosthetic limbs. 
  • $2 million for TerraEchos’ Adelos Nuclear Security Sensor System. TerraEchos Inc. will use the money to develop a high-tech sensor system designed to protect nuclear weapons.

“This is a tremendous investment in the security of Montana and America,” Baucus said.  “These projects will help make Montana a world a leader in cutting-edge military research, help create good-paying jobs and will provide new opportunities for economic growth across the Big Sky.”

“These are good projects that will make our country stronger and more secure,” Tester said.  “And they will keep Montana businesses on the cutting edge of important research and development, which brings more jobs to our state.”

In addition to funding Montana projects, the measure sets aside $570 million to ensure that the National Guard and Reserve have the resources they need after years of shortfalls.  It also sets aside billions to improve the nation’s army barracks, military hospitals, and to improve oversight of defense contractors.

The U.S. House has already passed the measure.  It now goes to President Bush to be signed into law.