Tester Secures Millions for Montana’s Defense Priorities, Water Infrastructure

U.S. Senator Jon Tester today secured millions for Montana’s defense installations and national security research programs, as well as upgrades to Montana’s water infrastructure as part of the bipartisan 2020 Defense Appropriations and Energy and Water Development Appropriations Acts.

“Few things I do here in Washington are as important as ensuring that Montanans are safe and secure – both from global threats and in their own communities,” Tester said. “We’re making investments in our defense installations and the universities on the forefront of cutting-edge defense research that’ll boost our national security for years to come. And we’re also making critical investments here at home—boosting the water infrastructure that’ll give our farmers, families, and business the stability they need to thrive into the future.”

As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Tester is responsible for writing the 12 bills that fund the federal government each year.

Among the Montana provisions Tester successfully included in the 2020 Defense Appropriations Act are:

  • National Guard: $850 million for the National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account to maintain and upgrade the equipment used by our reserve forces at home and abroad; $640 million for eight new C-130J aircraft for the Air National Guard; and $129 million in C-130H modernization for new engines and propellers for the Air Guard.
  • Malmstrom Air Force Base: Investments to support Air Force nuclear modernization, including an additional $65 million for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent program and $105 million for Minute Man III modernization and maintenance; $170 million for the replacement of the Vietnam-era Huey helicopters at Malmstrom and $2 million for civil engineering equipment utilized by the 819th and 219th REDHORSE units; and a $85 million increase for Counter-Drug Programs in the National Guard.
  • Military Personnel: Includes a 3.1 percent military pay raise.
  • Montana State University:
    • Secured $10 million for the Army Research Laboratory to support MSU’s research in extreme battery production; improving battery materials and chemistry to make them inherently more rugged while meeting energy and power requirements.
    • $4 million to help small businesses partner with DOD research laboratories through Techlink at Montana State University.
    • $8 million to support MSU’s development of new carbon fiber materials for rotary aircraft.
  • University of Montana: $15 million for critical language and culture training at the University of Montana for Special Operations forces and members of the intelligence community.
  • Research and Development for Montana businesses: $12 million to develop advanced battle field sensors to detect enemy electronic warfare threats for S2 Corporation in Bozeman; $14 million to develop hybrid rocket propulsion systems for Space Propulsion Group in Butte.
  • Montana Tech: $17.5 million for the Army Research Laboratory, which supports Montana Tech’s request for materials research that would bolster research, education, and technology development in materials and metals processing.

Among the Montana provisions Tester successfully included in the 2020 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act are:

  • Rural Water Projects: $152.6 million for rural water projects, including funding for Rocky Boy’s/North Central and Fort Peck/Dry Prairie rural water projects.
  • Indian Water Rights Settlements: The Crow Water Rights Settlement is funded at $12.7 million, and the Blackfeet Water Rights Settlement is funded at $10 million in order to help meet our trust responsibilities to Indian Country and build out water infrastructure.
  • St. Mary’s Water Infrastructure: Included report language noting the historic significance of the St. Mary’s project and the need for Reclamation to work more closely with the community to repair and replace the century-old infrastructure.
  • Watercraft Inspection Stations: Included $5 million for Corps of Engineers watercraft inspection stations to protect Columbia River states from aquatic invasive species. This provides critical support for watercraft inspection stations in Montana.
  • Cooperative Watershed Management: Secured $5.25 million for cooperative watershed management through the Bureau of Reclamation. This program helps bring together local and federal stakeholders to better plan and prioritize projects within a watershed. Projects are being organized on the Clark Fork and Sun River through this program.
  • Fossil Energy Research and Development: $800 million to research and develop next generation energy to technologies to boost efficiency, capture carbon, and reduce emissions.
  • Montana State University: $5 million for Montana State University’s nuclear missile surety program in partnership with the Department of Energy. The program helps ensure the accuracy of the United States’ nuclear missiles through flight simulations, even when countermeasures are deployed.