Delaware’s Scientific Community Gets Big Boost in Defense Bill
Senate Also Approves Language to Increase Accountability of Defense Contractors
WASHINGTON (Sept. 8, 2006) – Delaware Senators Joe Biden and Tom Carper announced today that the U.S. Senate last night approved $53.1 million for military research and equipment made in the First State. The funding comes as part of the fiscal year 2007 Department of Defense Appropriations Bill and breaks down as follows: · $14.5 million for the Army to continue providing W.L. Gore’s Extended Cold Weather Clothing System to our Guard and Reserve soldiers; · $11 million for the University of Delaware’s Center for Advanced Composite Materials to continue their work with the Army developing composite materials for the Future Combat System and developing lighter, stronger, and more protective armor for existing Army vehicles. · $7.5 million for Quantum Leap Innovation, a Newark-based company, to work with the Navy to provide better decision making tools for urgent battlefield medical care, particularly where biological agents are used; · $7 million for Fraunhofer, USA, also in Newark, for development of an innovative, more effective, less expensive, plant-based anthrax and plague vaccines; · $6.5 million for continued development of ANP Technologies’ less expensive, lighter, and more accurate handheld biological agent detectors; · $4.4 million for Micropore Inc. to lower the production costs of their lighter, more effective carbon dioxide absorbent used by Navy submarines, SEAL teams, for smoke hoods, and for coal mine safety; · $2.2 million for the Delaware Air National Guard’s new 166th Information Operations unit to continue its counter-terror work. The Senate also provided $313.5 million for C-5 Modernization. That includes $12 million more than the President requested so that three more C-5s can receive avionics upgrades. Avionics upgrades are installed at two locations, including Dover Air Force Base. The entire fleet is scheduled to be fully upgraded by mid-2009. “Delaware’s scientists and engineers are among the best in the nation,” said Biden. “They bring the innovation and expertise needed to keep our military the best in the world in a time of unpredictable threats. I am pleased that my colleagues have recognized the quality and importance of the work they are doing with this funding.” “The funds in this bill demonstrate the commitment and excellence that Delaware’s private companies bring to our armed forces, whether it’s clothing and protecting our troops or addressing the threat of terrorism at home and abroad,” said Carper. “In addition, the funds in the bill demonstrate the military’s continued commitment to modernizing our invaluable C-5 fleet and the importance of strategic airlift capacity in the 21st century.” In addition, the Senate approved language, offered by Sen. Carper and cosponsored by Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla., that would crack down on so-called “award fees” given to private contractors that fail to meet specific performance criteria. Each year, the Pentagon spends $200 billion on various goods and services offered by private defense contractors. In many cases, these contractors are offered monetary incentives, known as “award fees,” by the Pentagon to encourage high performance. A recent report by the Government Accountability Office showed that Defense Department fails to hold private contractors accountable to desired performance standards and doles out “award fees” despite serious performance shortfalls. The Carper language, which is similar to language added to the House defense spending bill by Rep. Mike Castle, R-Del., would prohibit these “award fees” to any defense contractor whose performance does not meet the requirements of their contract. “We have a responsibility to make sure our taxpayer money is being spent wisely and that we’re getting a good return on our investment,” said Carper. “This language is a simple way to ensure that funds are spent productively and that monetary incentives achieve their real purpose – high performance standards and exceptional work.” The differences between the Senate- and House-passed versions of the defense spending bill must now be reconciled and both chambers must pass compromise legislation before it is sent to the president for his signature.