Daines Secures Essential Support for Montana Defense Priorities

Defense Appropriations Act will fund critical missions performed by Montana service members, utilize Montana innovation to advance military readiness 

U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Steve Daines today advanced the Fiscal Year 2019 Department of Defense Appropriation Act, which provides robust funding for Montana’s military priorities and enables Montana researchers and small businesses to continue supporting U.S. military readiness.

The funding measure, which was reported out of the Senate Appropriations Committee by a bipartisan 30-1 vote, provides $675 billion to develop, maintain, and equip U.S. military forces throughout 2019. The bill provides support for the nation’s nuclear deterrence, National Guard readiness, academic research, and technological advances for the U.S. military. It also provides our troops with the largest pay raise in nearly ten years.

“This bill delivers on our promise to rebuild our military and ensure our servicemembers have the resources they need to counter our nation’s greatest threats,” said Daines.  “Montana’s servicemembers play a critical role in our national defense and must be equipped to maintain a decisive advantage over our adversaries. This bill also recognizes the important work Montana researchers and small businesses do to support our nation’s military readiness and Montana’s servicemembers’ needs to protect and defend our nation.”

As a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, Daines successfully worked to prioritize funding for missions performed by Montana’s military units, installations, research partners, and manufacturers. Key provisions include:

  • $12.9 million to update Minuteman Missile Launch Facility encryption devices, including those at Montana’s Malmstrom Air Force Base, to defend against 21st century threats. The Air Force identified this as a critical funding need for 2019.
  • $5 million for civil engineering units like Malmstrom’s 819th REDHORSE to quickly replace aging equipment with commercially available assets.
  • $5 million to help small manufacturers navigate Department of Defense buying processes through the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Program, facilitated by Montana State University.
  • $6.2 million to accelerate Army testing and evaluation of commercially available warfighter equipment, including assault packs manufactured by Mystery Ranch Backpacks in Bozeman, MT.
  • $10 million to advance lightweight composite barrel technology developed by PROOF Research in Columbia Falls, Montana, that will make military rifles lighter, more accurate, and more efficient.
  • $60 million for research on repetitive mild Traumatic Brain Injury conducted at the University of Montana.
  • $8 million to provide Special Operations Forces, Intelligence Activities, and the National Guard with specialize language training at the University of Montana.
  • $4 million to facilitate technology transfer from the Department of Defense to U.S. small businesses through Montana State University’s partnership intermediary, TechLink.
  • $5 million for research conducted at Montana State University into sensors which can operate in contested areas where the electromagnetic spectrum may be disrupted.
  • $4 million for research conducted by Montana State University into stretch-broken carbon fiber structures which will reduce weight and increase strength of the Army’s emerging helicopters.
  • $8.1 million to purchase new aircraft for the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, which develops youth into tomorrow’s leaders and supports government operations at the federal, state, and local levels. The Montana Wing of CAP has over 300 volunteers across 12 units. Daines is a Legislative Member of CAP’s Congressional Squadron.

Daines also championed provisions to establish new cyber units with the National Guard, halt unnecessary aircraft transfers between the Air Force and the U.S. Forest Service, and accelerate the replacement of aging UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters.

Additionally, the bill identifies more than $3.8 billion in excess and unused funds from prior years and retargets them to invest in technology initiatives such as Artificial Intelligence, Directed Energy, and Trusted Microelectronics; as well as hypersonic missile technology to counter threats from nations such as China and Russia.