Recent Press Releases

Washington, D.C. —  Late last night, the U.S. Senate passed the Defense Appropriations Conference Report which lays out defense spending for Fiscal Year 2008 which began on October 1, 2007. The Defense Bill includes $459.3 billion for the Department of Defense. Senator John Thune was successful in securing defense funding for projects that will benefit our nation's military and South Dakota.

"This Congress has been lagging far behind in the appropriations process. I am relieved we have finally approved funding for one of our nation's top priorities: national defense," said Thune. "South Dakota will make a significant contribution to our national security thanks to the many important provisions in this bill. These defense related projects and research initiatives, create new jobs, improve vital technologies, boost our state's economy, and make America a safer place."

In the Fiscal Year 2008 Defense Appropriations Conference Report, Senator Thune was successful in securing funding for the following defense programs:

Next Generation Lightweight Electric Drive Systems for Army Weapon Systems: $2 million
Dakota Power Incorporated, Rapid City

Provides a reduction in weight and enhanced performance for Future Combat System vehicles and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. With reduced weight, increased fuel efficiency, and the ability to free wheel, it has quieter operations that are harder to detect and is scalable for multiple applications.

B-1 Bomber 16-Carry Adapter: $9 million
Ellsworth Air Force Base

The B-1 bomber deployment footprint can be reduced along with improvements in flexibility with this adapter. The adapter fitting increases the amount of munitions that the B-1 can carry from 14 per aircraft to 48. This increases the B-1's flexibility to employ multiple types of weapons in a single sortie.

Advanced Electronics Rosebud Integration - Army Missile Defense (Rosebud Sioux Tribe): $4 million
The Rosebud Sioux Tribe advances Army defense system electronics by reducing the size, weight, and cost of electronic circuit cards, components, wire harnesses, and electronic cabling with an emphasis to reduce hazardous substances-materials and employ lead-free components in micro-electronic products.

Alternative Power Technology for Missile Defense (Rosebud Sioux Tribe): $3.2 million
Advances, adapts, and demonstrates photovoltaic (PV) technology to meet Army requirements for stealth, short to mid-range energy needs with minimal sustainable logistics. A prototype device will harness solar energy converted to narrow wavelengths and will validate PV power electronic controls.

HiSentinel: $4.64 million
Aerostar International Inc., Sioux Falls

Provides a long-duration platform for 24/7 capability for intelligence, surveillance, communications, and networking. Current platforms are limited to short duration missions of 24 hrs or less, this provides an unmanned airship capable of carrying different payloads for durations greater than 30 days.

Aging Weapons Systems Structural Repair: $1.6 million
H.F. Webster Engineering Services, Rapid City

Provides for the qualification of Friction Stir Welding technologies and for the development of a mobile friction stir welding capability. This has significant potential for extending the structural life and reducing the cost to sustain aging weapons systems.

Smart-Bomb Rack Unit (S-BRU) Upgrade: $4.56 million
Ellsworth Air Force Base

The S-BRU increases the amount of weapons that can be carried by 25 percent, reduces the mission turn-around time and the logistics footprint by 30 percent. With this upgrade, the B-1 will be capable of carrying 30 inch, as well as 14 inch weapons on a single CBM type.

LITENING 4th Generation (LG4) Advanced Targeting Pods: $39.6 million
The Air National Guard has identified the need for 33 more LITENING LG4 advanced targeting pods for precision strike capability, training, counter IED operations, and for missions supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom as well as Homeland Security and Disaster Relief capabilities.

Department of Defense Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (DEPSCoR): $11.2 million
Provides funding for competitive research proposals in 24 states. From defenses against IEDs to the electronic battlefield, to advanced communication systems, our nation's safety depends upon advances made possible through this type of research.

DOD STARBASE: $4 million
Provides funding for new and existing DOD STARBASE academies in 33 states. This program focuses on science, math, technology, and engineering. In Fiscal Year 2006, over 50,000 youths participated in STARBASE.

Integrated Mechanical Diagnostics Health and Usage Management System (IMDS) and Condition Based Maintenance (CBM) for CH-53: $4.64 million
IMDS automates and simplifies maintenance tasks and collects data to support the transition to CBM. The Marines have purchased over 50 IMDS for the fleet and it has provided a significant improvement in readiness rates and the ability to maintain aircraft while improving the accuracy of the fleet health.

The Defense Appropriation's Bill includes $1.05 million in funding for projects associated with the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology:

Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Simulation in Different Soils: $400,000
Provides IED simulation in different soils to develop tools to design countermeasures for IEDs. Once a numerical model is developed, it can be used for the simulation of shallow buried explosive blasts in different soils and eventually design equipment to help counter this threat.

Transparent Nanocomposite Armor: $300,000
Provides for the development of transparent armor for the Army's Future Combat Systems. This is a critical requirement for Army vehicles, as evidenced by assaults on soldiers in Iraq. The materials being used offer great promise in saving lives and improving performance.

Shielding Rocket Payloads: $350,000
Develops low-frequency acoustic shielding technologies for the Air Force. This project would reduce sound pressure levels within space vehicles to avoid damage to payloads during launch.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Defense Appropriations Conference Report yesterday by a wide margin and it will now be sent to the President for his consideration. Combined with the Defense Appropriations bill, is a Continuing Resolution provision that provides temporary funding to keep the government operating,

The Continuing Resolution was added because none of the annual appropriation measures have been completed by the Democrat led Congress. This is the second such temporary funding measure that Congress has enacted since the beginning of the fiscal year which began on October 1, 2007. If the continuing resolution is signed into law, federal agencies would be temporarily funded through December 14, 2007.