Domenici Requests Funding to Support Defense Research Work at N.M. Tech, May 30, 2002

(202) 224-7082


Domenici Will Help Craft FY2003 Defense Appropriations Bill

WASHINGTON -- Prior to departing last Friday for an international nuclear nonproliferation trip to Russia, U.S. Senator Pete Domenici signed off on the priority funding needed to accentuate the wide-variety of national defense work carried out in New Mexico, including several projects carried out by New Mexico Tech in Socorro.

Domenici is a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee that this summer will develop the FY2003 Defense Appropriations Bill to provide actual funding for national defense work next year. The President has requested more than $396 billion for national defense work in FY2003, the most significant increase in military spending in decades.

"New Mexico is home to some very important components for keeping our forces on the cutting edge. In that light, my priorities are to ensure that this work is sufficiently funded as we go through the appropriations process this summer and fall," Domenici said.

"The scientific and research capabilities at New Mexico Tech can be brought to bear on our national defense. I'm requesting funding that can build on the school's contributions to national security, particularly as our defenses become more reliant on high technology," he said.

Domenici has formally requested funding for a wide variety of defense activities conducted in New Mexico as they relate to Kirtland, Holloman, and Cannon Air Force bases, Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories, White Sands Missile Range, the New Mexico National Guard and a wide-range of defense contractors in the state such as Laguna Industries in Cibola County.

Domenici is requesting a $12 million increase to the President's $25 million request for the Defense Micro-Electronics Activity to establish the MicroElectronics Testing, Technology and Obsolescense Program (METTOP) at New Mexico Tech. METTOP would be established within the school's Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center (EMRTC).

The funding sought by Domenici would support an expansion of EMRTC research, development, test and evaluation (RDT&E) capabilities to exercise virtually any microelectronic component used in military, space, and commercial applications. The specific purposes of the METTOP include the verification of complex software models, the determination and documentation of large variations in microelectronic device responses to various environments, and the tracking and documentation of changes in the manufacturing processes of various microelectronic devices used in military, space, and commercial programs.

Domenici has also requested $10 million for the Institute of Complex Additive Systems Analysis (ICASA) at New Mexico Tech. ICASA is a cooperative endeavor among the Defense Department, other federal agencies, academia and the private sector to analyze complex interdependent systems, i.e., networks and critical infrastructures -- electrical grids, water distribution systems, and the computer networks on which they rely. In addition, ICASA has an educational component to train and educate future experts to deal with assuring the stability of interdependent systems in the United States.

"Securing this funding will be a challenge, but a case can be made that ICASA is playing an important role in identifying vulnerabilities," Domenici said. "Recent terrorist events stress the need for a critical infrastructure systems modeling framework that allows for the rapid application of system models to support vulnerability assessments of threats. This funding would help ICASA develop the tools to more accurately predict our infrastructure vulnerabilities."

With a $17 million appropriation sought by Domenici for the Geosynchronous Laser Imaging Testbed (GLINT), the mission capabilities of WSMR would be expanded by adding a new laser transmitter that is required for very high altitude and deep space object identification and capabilities analysis. Congress last year approved $7 million for GLINT. The Bush budget recommends $28.3 million for this Advanced Weapons Technology. GLINT also involves the research and development capabilities of the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology at Socorro.

Domenici is also seeking support for his $30 million request for the Magdalena Ridge Observatory (MRO) project under the Office of Naval Research, Naval Research Laboratory. The observatory complex will consist of a single stand-alone telescope and a multi-telescope interferometer. In his request, Domenici noted that the site chosen for this observatory provides both an environment free of the air and noise pollution found at sites lower in elevation and a location ideal for Defense Department agencies studying missile flights and tests at WSMR. The Bush budget does not seek any funding specific to the MRO.

"From this site, the observatory will be able to track missiles launched from Fort Wingate, the North Range Extension to WSMR, and as well as from WSMR itself. Not only will it be able to observe tests above the range complex, it will also have a lookdown capability to observe lower altitude flight tests and to track missiles from launch to intercept to ground impact," Domenici said.

New Mexico Tech would also be involved with the mission to develop an advanced Medical Biologics Detection Surveillance System. Domenici has requested $5.5 million in Navy funding for this research effort focused on improving area and personnel monitoring preparedness against biological threats.

This program will develop and integrate advances in biotechnology, optical sensors, and integrated circuits to develop rapid detection and alarm capabilities necessary for continuous, semi-autonomous, environmental surveillance of naval personnel spaces. The technology could then be used in local and federal civilian emergency situations.