WASHINGTON, D.C. â?? The Idaho Congressional Delegation announced that Congress today approved several projects for southwest Idaho in the Fiscal Year 2005 Defense Appropriations bill. â??Idaho should be proud of its role in our nationâ??s defense. These projects underscore the amount of research, development, and training Idaho provides and will continue to provide,â?? said Craig. â??More importantly, this bill continues funding our troops who stand in harmâ??s way to protect our freedoms and to spread those freedoms worldwide.â?? â??This bill funds Idahoâ??s work in keeping our nation safe and free,â?? Crapo said. â??Individuals and facilities in Idaho are fully involved in meeting these critical objectives, with efforts now underway in intelligence gathering, counterterrorism activities, and biological defense. I commend Senator Craig on the work he has done in securing these funds for Idaho.â?? â??Through the tremendous skills of the men and women at Mountain Home, Gowen Field, the INEEL, and our state's institutions of higher learning, Idahoans are deeply engaged in many crucial efforts to protect our nation and its citizens,â?? said Congressman Mike Simpson. â??Each of these projects will allow Idaho's institutions, men and women in uniform, and talented researchers to further contribute to our national security.â?? Congressman Otter said, â??Providing for the common defense has been a proper and essential role of government from the beginning of our republic. It's enshrined in the Preamble to the Constitution, and it is a function of Congress to ensure the men and women on the ramparts of liberty have the means to do their duty. Having just spent some time with members of my old National Guard brigade preparing for deployment to Iraq, I'm particularly pleased that this bill recognizes Idaho's role in keeping America safe and free.â?? The southwest Idaho projects include: â?¢ $1.8 million for the Characterization, Reliability, and Applications of Three-Dimensional Micro-Structures at Boise State University. This is part of a multi-year funding effort. BSU is developing layered microchips, which will allow chip designers and manufacturers to pack increasingly more electronics into the same footprint. Much like a city will build taller buildings to put more in less space, this approach seeks to layer chips â?? a technology still very much under development. â?¢ $1.4 million for the SENIOR SCOUT mission for the Idaho Air National Guard. SENIOR SCOUT is an airborne electronic signals collection platform that is instrumental in performing intelligence and anti-terror missions worldwide. The encapsulated intelligence package, called a shelter, fits into the back of a standard C-130E or C-130H model that has been modified to accommodate the mission. Currently, there are three shelters stationed at the 169th Intelligence Squadron at the Utah Air National Guard in Salt Lake City, Utah. The shelters will remain in Utah, while Idahoâ??s planes and flight crews will likely be the permanent carriers. The SENIOR SCOUT Mission relies solely on the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard for mission air support. â?¢ $1 million for the Advanced Clinical Education Institute/Surgery Interactive System at St. Alâ??s. This ongoing project enables physicians and nursing staff to train in a conference/training setting for new and advanced surgical procedures as the procedures are occurring live in the operating room (OR) suites at Saint Alphonsus in Boise, ID, or from Medical Centers and University-based teaching surgery centers. The video conferencing equipment in the conference/training setting will receive the transmitted live sights and sounds and display them for the audience. The OR envisions that the video conferencing environment allows a speaker to moderate the presentation, to simultaneously show additional presentation materials via training tools, to capture the audience sights and sounds, and to record the presentation for future audiences. The overall bill includes a $416 billion in defense-related spending, including $25 billion in a contingent emergency reserve fund for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan as requested by the President. The bill now goes to the President for his signature.