U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced that the Omnibus spending bill – a must-pass bill that funds the federal government through the end of the fiscal year – includes $91 million in funding for the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Test and Evaluation/Science and Technology (T&E/S&T) program, an increase of roughly $9 million from last year. Schumer and Gillibrand said this program is critical to Wester NY, which Buffalo-based CUBRC depends on for funding. CUBRC operates the unique Large Energy National Shock Tunnel (LENS) for the testing of hypersonic weapon systems for the military. The LENS facility depends on federal support from the DOD Science and Technology program, however, in recent years, the budget for T&E/S&T has declined by almost 10 percent, from $93 million to $83 million. Schumer and Gillibrand warned that these cuts could hurt CUBRC’s renowned LENS facility, which would impair our nation’s defense, and therefore urged members of the Appropriations committee to restore funding for the program to the previous level of almost $93 million.
“This is a major milestone in our quest to secure the funding needed to boost CUBRC’s world-class research and testing capabilities in Western NY. CUBRC is a critical part of both Western NY’s innovation economy and our national defense – which is why I pushed to restore funding to the Science and Technology program at the DOD,” said Senator Schumer. “I am urging my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers of Congress to vote for this bill so we can send this to the President’s desk, as securing funding for this top-notch institution will protect our high-tech jobs in Western New York for years to come.”
“This funding is a critical investment for science and technology in Western New York, and would help CUBRC advance their research and military testing capabilities,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The funding included in the omnibus would assist the DOD in strengthening our national security, and I am urging my colleagues to pass this bill.”
CUBRC was established in 1983 to find technological advancements for the military through an array of research, development, and testing projects. The LENS facility consists of four shock tunnels that enable hypersonic aerodynamic flow tests, at fully-duplicated flight conditions, using full-scale vehicles, which has played a critical role DOD’s study of long range ballistics and types of aircraft. The LENS facility requires between $8 to $12 million in funding per year to support the scientists and maintain the facility, but federal funding has slipped over the past few years.
CUBRC’s President and CEO, Tom McMahon said, “We are so very appreciative for Senator Schumer’s unrelenting support and leadership in securing additional funding for the Department of Defense program that supports hypervelocity ground testing. Because CUBRC’s Large Energy National Shocktunnel (LENS) operation is already the premier provider in this field, these additional funds will further enhance Western New York’s pre-eminence in the Nation in contributing to the United States lead in this most vital of strategic defense capabilities.”