Senate Approves Defense Bill with Major Projects for Delaware

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Joseph R. Biden, Jr. and Thomas R. Carper announced today that the U.S. Senate passed its annual legislation providing funding for critical security measures designed to strengthen the United States’ defense capability and fortify our nation’s armed forces. The fiscal year 2002 Department of Defense Appropriations Bill allocated more than $317 billion for a 5% pay raise for military personnel, advanced weapons and munitions systems, state-of-the-art anti-terrorism equipment, and C-5 modernization among other things. Included in this year’s DoD spending bill were the following Delaware related projects:

  • $269.722 million to modernize the aging C5, the largest plane in the U.S. military fleet, by replacing the engines and updating the avionics;
  • $29.8 million to build a new mortuary at Dover Air Force base — $19.8 for military construction and $10 million for new equipment for the mortuary;
  • $102.5 million for the Army National Guard to purchase 10 new Blackhawk helicopters; emergency shortages of utility helicopters severely hamper the Guards’ ability to respond to disasters. Right now, there are between seven and nine states, including Delaware that are at a critical level, having no modern aviation assets for their Army Guard aviation units;
  • $10 million for W.L. Gore to outfit the Army and Air Guard members in Extended Cold Weather Protective Clothing; currently only about 30 percent of the Guard have access to this protective gear;
  • $2 million for Quantum Leap Innovations, to develop an automated network with the Navy that links detection sensors to appropriate government, medical, and military personnel. The sensors, small enough to put on traffic lights, would be linked to software able to quickly analyze data so that it is immediately useful to first responders in case of a chemical or biological threat;
  • $10 million for the University of Delaware Center for Composite Materials to develop advanced composites technology that will produce lighter, stronger munitions to help the Army become lighter and more mobile and will improve Navy shipbuilding efforts. Specifically, the funding breaks down $5 million for the Army’s Future Combat System, from which $826,000 will go to the Army Materials Center of Excellence at the University of Delaware; $3 million for the Navy’s Advanced Materials and Intelligent Processing Center; and $2 million to work with a company in North Dakota to make quality composite munition parts for the Army;
  • $3.3 million to enhance and expand the DuPont company’s pilot program to develop a comprehensive worker safety initiative for the Army; this program is expected to save hundreds of millions of dollars when fully implemented;
  • $5 million for the High Performance Materials Group, a Delaware Company, to work with the Army to develop 120 mm and 81 mm mortars systems using high performance metal matrix composites to significantly reduce the weight and increase the fire power of these mortar systems. These composites will make the mortar units more mobile and more effective, as well as enabling them to fire at consistently faster rates;
  • $2 million for Green Tree Inc., formerly a part of Hercules, Inc. to produce nitrocellulose, a critical component of military grade ammunition used in weapons like the Trident and hellfire missiles.

“Now more than ever, it is absolutely critical that our military men and women have the capacity, the capability and the resources they need to respond to any and all threats against the United States,” said Senator Biden. “Clearly our role in the world has changed and we have an obligation to make sure that the people charged with our protection and defense have the most sophisticated equipment and gear and the best training available.” “Our servicemen and women are models of courage and need to be well armed and well protected. Under this bill, Delaware research institutions are on the front lines of providing these protections,” Carper said. “This bill gives our military the new equipment it needs while giving a boost to the local economy.” The bill must now be reconciled with the fiscal year 2002 Defense Appropriations bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives.