Recent Press Releases

Thune Announces Funding for Defense Projects to Benefit South Dakota

Highlights Additional Provisions Included to Boost National Security

December 21, 2005

Washington, DC —  Today, the Senate passed the conference report for the Fiscal Year 2006 Defense Appropriations bill, which includes over $17.6 million of Senator John Thune's requested funding for various defense-related projects that will be spent primarily in South Dakota and at least $41 million in upgrade or development programs for the Airborne Laser System and B1-B bomber that may ultimately benefit Ellsworth Air Force Base.

"South Dakota's integral role in national defense efforts is a source of pride for all South Dakotans and a cornerstone of our state's economy," Thune said. "I am pleased to announce this significant funding that will directly enhance South Dakota's defense-related operations—paving the way for important research and new technology that will create jobs, boost our state's economy and provide for a stronger, safer America."

"America faced considerable challenges in 2005, including one of the greatest natural disasters in our nation's history and the real threat of a flu pandemic that could wipe out millions of Americans if protective measures are not taken. As a result, Congress had to make certain budgeting adjustments to meet these challenges."

On the national security front, the bill includes measures to safeguard the nation against an Avian Flu pandemic, awards a 3.1 percent pay raise for all U.S. military personnel, prohibits "cruel, inhuman, or degrading" treatment of detainees in U.S. custody, and provides Hurricane Katrina victims with additional relief, among other provisions.

"I'm pleased we were able to push through the partisan obstruction engineered by a minority of Senate Democrats and pass this important bill that boosts our national security, equips our military with the tools and resources they need to continue to wage and win the War on Terror."

The South Dakota-specific projects include:

  • $4.2 million for the 3M Corporation for the development of a Colorimetric PDA-based Sensor.

  • $2.4 million for the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology for research on Nano-Reinforced Structures & Advanced Multi-Functional Space Structures.

  • $2 million for the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology for research on Strategic Defense Systems Manufacturing Technology.

  • $1.8 million for the Advanced Electronics Center on the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Reservation for the research, development, testing and demonstration of advanced electronics integration and fabrication technology.

  • $1.8 million for the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology for Advanced Materials & Nanotechnology for Ammunition Systems.

  • $1.2 million for the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology for the Next Generation Joint Technology Research Initiative.

  • $1 million for RPM & Associates for research and development of Transitional Laser Engineered Net Shaping.

  • $1 million for the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology for a study to examine whether Ellsworth would be a suitable site for the Aging Aircraft Structural Repair Facility.

Additional funding includes:

  • $25 million for B-1 bomber deployable parts kit.

  • $9.8 million for B-1 bomber digital communications upgrades.

  • $7 million for the continued development of the experimental Airborne Laser System (ABL) to be mounted on Boeing- 747 aircraft. Once operational and deployed, these platforms could provide a key defensive network against ballistic missile attack on this country. Senator Thune has been active in related efforts to push the merits of Ellsworth AFB to the Air Force as a future deployment site for the ABL.

  • $50 billion in additional appropriations for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, of which $1 billion is for National Guard and Reserve equipment.

  • Full funding of key readiness programs critical to the Global War on Terrorism. It also provides funding for a 3.1-percent, across-the-board pay raise for military personnel.

  • $29 billion for hurricane relief and $3.79 billion for Avian Flu protection.

  • Language that prohibits U.S. personnel from engaging in "cruel, inhuman, or degrading" treatment of detainees.