Recent Press Releases

Washington, D.C. —  Senator John Thune today announced the Senate Armed Services Committee recently approved the National Defense Authorization bill for Fiscal Year 2008, which included funding for several South Dakota defense related projects. The bill authorizes funding for the Department of Defense and the national security programs of the Department of Energy. Senator Thune is a member of the Armed Services Committee.

"These projects are important to both South Dakota and the country. Our state has an excellent reputation for contributing to America's national defense and national security and these important projects will continue that fine tradition," said Thune.

The projects include:
  • $7.9 million for the Civil Engineer Maintenance Complex at Joe Foss Field in Sioux Falls. The existing Air National Guard maintenance complex is 50 percent undersized and inadequate for the 114th Fighter Wing. The building cannot be improved without incurring unreasonable maintenance and alteration costs. The existing civil engineer facilities are wooden World War II buildings.
  • $212.2 million for the modernization and upgrade of 67 B-1B bombers. These funds would go towards the procurement, modernization and upgrade of combat capabilities of our B-1B bomber fleet.

  • $16.6 million for the Civil Engineer Administrative Facility at Ellsworth AFB. The Civil Engineering Squadron is currently located in four buildings that are geographically separated on Ellsworth AFB. All are more than 45 years old and are high maintenance, energy inefficient, and operationally inadequate to suit civil engineering operational and customer service needs. A new complex needs to be constructed to consolidate all civil engineering functions in order to enhance engineering support and to consolidate resources.

  • $300,000 for the Transparent Nanocomposite Armor project at South Dakota School of Mines & Technology in Rapid City. The purpose of the proposed work is to continue the development of new transparent armor for the Army's Future Combat Systems. This is a critical requirement for Army vehicles as evidenced by recent assaults on U.S. troops in Iraq. Vehicular windows must be both ballistically strong and light. Polycarbonate (PC) and polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) materials offer great promise to improve performance over existing materials. The electrospun nanofibers possess highly ordered macromolecular structures that result in good mechanical properties. Since diameters of the nanofibers are smaller than the wavelength of visible light, the complete dispersion of PC nanofibers in the PMMA matrix will make nanocomposites transparent.

  • $350,000 for the Shielding Rocket Payloads project at South Dakota School of Mines & Technology in Rapid City. This project is working to develop low-frequency acoustic shielding technologies for the U.S. Air Force. In response to the challenge issued by the DoD, the Air Force Research Laboratory's (AFRL) Space Vehicles Directorate has adopted the mission to establish dominance of space for U.S. assets. The purpose of this project is to reduce the sound pressure levels within space vehicles to avoid damage to delicate payloads during launch. The South Dakota School of Mines and Technology will partner with the AFRL in this work.

The bill has now been forwarded to the full Senate for consideration.