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Defense spending bill has $11.2 million for South Texas


Express-News Washington Bureau (06/21/2005)

by Gary Martin

WASHINGTON—A $408 billion defense spending bill includes $11.2 million in research projects for South Texas and San Antonio, local lawmakers said today.

Many of the South Texas research funds tucked into the spending bill for fiscal year 2006, which begins Oct. 1, would improve capabilities to protect against terrorist attacks or biological weapons.

The bill earmarks $3 million for the Southwest Research Institute and other partners to develop special clothing and tools for use with chemical and biological threats.

Another $2.7 million for Nanotechnologies Inc. and Brooks City-Base would fund further research to detect and neutralize chemical and biological agents.

"These projects will improve homeland security, strengthen our military, protect our soldiers and help the local economy,'' said Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio.

The House of Representatives passed the sweeping bill late Monday, 398-19. The Senate is working on its own version of the bill.

The House bill is $3 billion less than President Bush asked for, but includes $45 billion for combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Overall, there is $71.7 billion for research, several billion more than the Pentagon and president requested.

Rep. Charlie Gonzalez, D-San Antonio, said the bill includes $3 million to develop a corrosion facility at Southwest Research Institute to develop projects for the Marine Corps.

Some $500,000 was secured by Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, for the Center for Geospatial Intelligence and Investigation, a collaboration between Texas State University at San Marcos and the Army Topographic Engineering Center, to carry out a research project on threats to Army personnel.

Other projects include:

  • $1 million for an Air Force DNA repository for rapid identification on biological agents;
  • $1 million for the National Center for Targeted Cancer Therapy and Research Center at Brooke Army Medical Center to develop cancer therapies.