Alexander, Frist Applaud Passage Of FY04 Defense Appropriations Conference Report

Posted on September 25, 2003

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Bill Frist (R-TN) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) today announced Senate passage of the Fiscal Year 2004 Defense Appropriations Conference Report, which includes significant funding for many U.S. and Tennessee military and reservist priorities. "Supporting the efforts of our nation's military is critical to the security of our state, nation and global partners throughout the world," said Frist. "This funding represents a significant investment in our military and reserve components by providing the necessary equipment they need to do their jobs with many critical quality of life measures for soldiers and their families. It also supports Tennessee's contribution to our national defense by supporting the work of our Tennessee National Guard, our state's universities, Oak Ridge and the many entities throughout the state which provide assistance to our soldiers." "It is crucial that we give the men and women who fight for our freedom the tools they need to succeed," said Alexander. "This bill invests in cutting edge technology to improve our nation's defense, provides a well-deserved pay raise for military personnel, and funds the priorities of Tennessee's Guard and Reserve." Some of the key Tennessee projects included in the FY 2004 Defense Appropriations Conference Bill include:
  • $1.5 billion for the purchase of 11 V22/Osprey aircraft. A portion of these aircraft will be built by Aerostructures Corporation located in Nashville.
  • $6.75 million for the SensorNet program, a nationwide system for the real-time detection and assessment of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats. The technology is part of efforts at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
  • $22.5 million for the Guardian Portable Radiation Search Tool (PRST), a neutron and gamma ray detector capable of protecting against radiological weapons of mass destruction. Nusafe of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, is expected to be a manufacturer of the technology.
  • $4.5 million for the medical consortium conducting medical Mustard Gas Antidote Research for the Department of Defense. The consortium includes Meharry Medical School and East Tennessee State University. This research utilizes a new and promising technology to counter the deadly effects from weapons of mass destruction exposure.
  • $5 million for APN-241 Radar Upgrade, the only radar capable of meeting U.S. Air Force safety, navigation and aerial delivery requirements. This additional funding will be used to procure eight APN-241 units into the Tennessee Air National Guard, including the 118th Military Airlift Wing.
  • $3 million for research, development and testing of Tactical Unmanned Ground Vehicles. Remotec in Oak Ridge is a principle developer of the technology.
  • $3 million for the U.S. Army Tank Command (TACOM) National Automotive Research Center University Consortium, which includes the University of Tennessee. Several important military automotive programs will be impacted by this research.
  • $8.6 million for the Extended Cold Weather Clothing System (ECWCS), modern personal equipment which is urgently needed by our active forces to improve both their military effectiveness and quality of life. Of the funding, $1.4 million for the Army National Guard, $4.2 million to the Army Reserve and $3 million to the Air National Guard.
  • $1.1 million toward the Communicator-Automated Emergency/Notification System which provides instantaneous real-time emergency mobilization notification in the event of war or any other emergency. The Tennessee National Guard would benefit greatly from this system.
  • $1 million for the U.S. Marine Corps' Lightweight Maintenance Enclosure (LME). These are frame-supported lightweight tents designed to provide a covered facility to conduct tactical maintenance operations in difficult and varied climates. Camel Manufacturing in Campbell County, Tennessee, is expected to be the principle supplier.
  • $41.9 million to provide three brigades of Bradley Fighting Vehicles with Reactive Armor, enhancing the survivability of the fighting vehicles. The reactive armor tiles are manufactured at the Army Ammunition Plant in Milan, Tennessee.
  • $2.3 million for the Center for Optical Logic Devices (COLD), which is a cooperative research effort between Fisk University and Idaho State on encryption and decryption code and optical communications.
  • $3 million for the All Purpose Environmental Clothing System (APECS), which is lightweight, waterproof, breathable combat clothing which provides protection from the elements in all weather conditions. Funding this year will begin procurement of 217,000 units over the next four years for active and reserve duty personnel.
  • $1 million for the Appalachia High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area for the Tennessee Army National Guard. Tennessee ranks among the top five marijuana-producing states in the nation. The Tennessee Army National Guard was successful in eradicating in excess of $600 million worth of this drug last year. These funds will expand eradication efforts and sustain maintenance capabilities.
  • $2.2 million to develop the Hypersonic Vehicle Electric Power System (HVEPS) for Supersonic Aircraft. This would provide necessary funding to design a magneto hydrodynamic generator, which uses superconducting magnets to create an intense magnetic field to power next-generation scramjet engines. This is the ideal system to produce the electric power required for next generation onboard systems.
Now that the conference report has passed both the House and Senate, it will go to the President for his signature.