Senate Approves Defense Spending Bill

Bill includes additional $66 million for Delaware-based initiatives

Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Joe Biden and Tom Carper today announced that the Senate voted 98-0 last night to approve a $416 billion military funding bill, including $25 billion to support ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The fiscal 2005 Defense Appropriations bill includes $432 million for C-5 modernization. The bill also includes an additional $66 million for Delaware-based initiatives in support of our troops and the nation’s defense. “This bill is about meeting America’s commitment to our fighting men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere around the world,” said Senator Biden. “They need more airlift and the C-5 modernization money is critical to meeting that goal. They also need newer and better materials so that the Army can quickly transform to meet new challenges. UD-CCM has been and continues to be an amazing partner for the Army in developing those materials. We know we need better detection and response equipment for both our troops and for homeland security and Delaware’s companies are contributing to that effort as well. Overall, this bill shows the Senate’s appreciation for the great contributions Delaware continues to make to national security.” “The defense bill highlights Delaware’s strategic, scientific and technological importance at a time when the nation is facing continued security threats at home and abroad,” said Senator Carper. “The funds for C-5 modernization will strengthen our military’s strategic airlift capacity, while other funds in the bill will help clothe and protect our troops, as well as address the challenges of catastrophic terrorism at home and abroad.” Specifically, the bill would provide: • $432 million to upgrade and modernize the C-5 fleet – $99 million for the upgrades to the plane’s avionics and $333 million in research to continue work on the re-engining program; • $605 million for 20,000 additional Army soldiers. In addition, the bill would provide money for Delaware-based equipment and research, including: • $14.8 million for all-weather protective clothing for the troops, manufactured by W.L. Gore; • $3 million for Patrick Power Products to complete the development of their Rotary, Multi-Fuel Auxiliary Power Unit. The RMF-APU will provide the Army with a smaller, lighter, cheaper APU for a range of vehicles. The company estimates that the Army can achieve a savings of over $200 million by using this APU in just one vehicle. $23 million to find ways to combat biological weapons and biological terrorism, which includes: • $7 million to help Fraunhofer USA’s Center for Molecular Biotechnology to continue development of a multivalent one shot, universal bio-defense vaccine from plants. Initial work is focused on anthrax and plague vaccines and on creating a vaccine that can be orally delivered for quick vaccination in a crisis; • $7 million for Quantum Leap Innovations to continue work on a system for the Navy that will integrate data from a variety of sources and immediately alert decision makers and appropriate responders to potential threats and help them plan best responses; • $1 million for MIDI to help create a networked system to rapidly identify and track the specific strain of given biological agents and to share that information. This network would be created with USAMRID, the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases; • $8 million for ANP Technologies to continue development of their Nano Intelligent Detection System, a handheld biological detector capable of testing for multiple agents. This system is lighter, more accurate, and less expensive than the current system used by the military. Almost $21.5 million for University of Delaware work for national security, which includes: • Almost $18 million for basic research at the University of Delaware’s Center for Composite Materials (UD-CCM). This includes research creating low cost and lighter weight parts for Army vehicles, and parts for Navy ships that provide improved mine protection and enhanced fire resistance; • $3.5 million for research equipment for a new oceanographic research vessel for the University of Delaware. This brings the Navy’s total contribution to $5.5 million. Like the Cape Henlopen research vessel it will replace, the new ship will be part of the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS). It will be specifically designed to operate near coast lines in shallow water, having a minimal impact on the surrounding aquatic environment. The House passed its version of this bill earlier this week. The bill will now go to conference where Senators Biden and Carper will work to see that these important provisions are retained in the bill.