Durbin: Congress Approves $45.4 Million in Defense Funding for Projects in Illinois

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) today announced that the United States Senate has approved $45,400,000 in federal funding to assist defense related facilities and projects across Illinois. Durbin is a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. The legislation will now go to President Obama for his signature.


The Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 defense spending bill includes funding for the following projects:


• Columbia College Chicago, Chicago. $1,600,000 in funding for the Construct Program at Columbia College Chicago, which will develop interactive simulations for military training that provide soldiers with the ability to train in computerized real world environments. The program requires users to complete training tasks as a team and allows for the tracking and recording of motions and other characteristics of each participant during each training session. This capability, along with Construct’s ability to review session data in multiple visual formats, will allow the Army to better train soldiers for military conflicts at the unit level.


• Electric Vehicle Technology, Fairbury. $1,600,000 in funding to allow the military to test a new kind of electric engine that is designed without a transmission and can produce sufficient amounts of torque to power military vehicles. Electric Vehicle Technology in Fairbury, IL would compete to take part in this initiative.


• EPIR Technologies, Bolingbrook. $7,200,000 in funding to construct a research and manufacturing facility that will fabricate millions of cells using single-crystal cadmium telluride technology that requires less semiconductor material and eliminates the costs associated with using large glass panels to fabricate traditional materials. The project builds on earlier successes in the development and manufacturing of domestically produced substrates for infrared focal plane array sensors. Such substrates are an essential component in mission critical night-vision instruments and equipment. The material also has been found to improve solar panel manufacturing capabilities. EPIR, in Bolingbrook, would compete for this initiative.


• Hadron Particle Therapy, Batavia: $1,600,000 in funding to continue to develop a proton therapy center for patients undergoing cancer radiation therapy. At least 30 percent of patients undergoing such therapy would have a better prognosis with hadron therapy (using either neutrons or protons). Hadron therapy uses excess beam capacity from Fermilab's proton linear accelerator to generate a neutron beam that treats advanced radio-resistant malignant tumors. Once established, Northern Illinois University will be the only institution in the United States to offer patients access to both proton and neutron cancer therapy. Durbin worked with Congressman Bill Foster (D-IL) on this project.


• Hamilton Sundstrand, Rockford. $3,200,000 in funding to support up to five different energy efficiency and thermal management programs for Defense Department aircraft. The technologies would improve performance and range for aircraft while moving toward national environmental and domestic energy goals. Hamilton Sundstrand in Rockford, Illinois would compete for this initiative. Durbin worked with Congressman Don Manzullo (R-IL) on this project.


• Illinois Army National Guard, Springfield. $6,400,000 in funding for the MRAP Vehicle Virtual Trainers program will provide training equipment to the Illinois Army National Guard, allowing it to train soldiers in operating MRAP vehicles over the streets and terrain they may encounter during deployment. MRAP Vehicle Virtual Trainers allow Illinois Army National Guard soldiers to learn to operate MRAP vehicles on "Virtual Battlefields" that are geo-specifically accurate for major areas of Iraq and Afghanistan.


• Illinois Army National Guard, Springfield. $2,400,000 in funding for the procurement of Virtual Convoy Operations Trainers (VCOT) allows soldiers to simulate convoys to identify and avoid improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in a virtual environment. The Illinois National Guard has one VCOT and must continually move it throughout the state for training. VCOTs allow combat training on virtual terrain that includes Baghdad, Tikrit, Samarra, Kabul, and Kosovo, and these trainers can network with MRAP Vehicle Virtual Trainers to allow full spectrum ground vehicle movement training.


• Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago. $2,000,000 in funding to continue the partnership between the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) and the Army Research Lab, with IIT developing materials that will assist the Army in advanced armor development. The project will support the analysis and virtual design of a novel class of impact-resistant materials to be employed in vehicle armor and explosives protective gear for personnel.


• Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood. $1,600,000 in funding to advance the Institute's research into burn trauma and infections, injuries commonly encountered in battlefield and military settings. The Burn and Shock Trauma Institute at Loyola University Medical Center is a nationally recognized leader in basic and clinical research designed to improve the treatment and outcomes of patients suffering from burn injury and other trauma.


• Northwestern University, Evanston. $2,400,000 in funding to develop ultra-high-density, three-dimensional memory chips for the fabrication of flash memory devices, to be deployed for surveillance activities and communication on the battlefield. The program will pursue specific goals, including flash memory production that can be written with low voltage and memory materials made from new molecular structures, with potential in several key military and civilian applications. The project would build on Northwestern's existing International Institute of Nanotechnology and the recently established Center for Integrated NanoSystems.


• Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Chicago. $2,000,000 in funding to support the development of technology used for bionic limbs, focusing specifically on the development of lightweight artificial joints and magnetic technologies to control the rotation of an artificial arm. The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago has been a leader in this type of medical technology and will provide members of the Armed Forces and others who have lost a limb or the use of a limb with more responsive artificial limbs.


• Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Chicago. $800,000 in funding for a study of acute pain at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. The study will investigate pain as it evolves in three different rehabilitation-based pain syndromes: post-amputation pain (e.g. phantom limb pain), spinal cord injury pain, and traumatic brain injury pain. The prevalence of pain in these populations is greater than 70% in each diagnosis and is often the principal impediment to optimal rehabilitation. The project would use leading edge methods to explore the biological, psychological, and genetic aspects of each type of pain.


• Rock Island Arsenal, Rock Island. $7,600,000 in funding for the Arsenal Support Program Initiative (ASPI) which renovates unused office and manufacturing space at Rock Island Arsenal to lease to commercial firms. ASPI was enacted by Congress in FY 2001 to encourage commercial firms to use the arsenal's facilities. ASPI allows the arsenal to modernize and maintain infrastructure while creating jobs.


• Rock Island Arsenal, Rock Island. $800,000 in funding to demonstrate a new firetube boiler technology at Rock Island that provides higher efficiency, lower emissions, water savings, and multi-fuel capabilities to the arsenal. It will help the Arsenal save money and meet energy efficiency requirements.


• Rush University Medical Center, Chicago. $4,000,000 in funding to further develop the Center for Advanced Emergency Response and for a cooperative program between the Department of Defense and Rush University Medical Center. It would provide technical expertise to develop a disease-based biosurveillance system able to identify biological threat agents with further development to include chemical and radiological agents as well as naturally occurring disasters. These funds will help provide clinical expertise in defending against biological and chemical terrorism and in treating first responders and citizens in the case of natural disasters or acts of terrorism resulting in mass casualty incidents.