University looks at defense research

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Southeast Missouri State University could receive $2 million in federal Defense Department funding to research blast-resistant barriers and buildings to protect troops from harm.

Some of the money ultimately would go to Kontek, a firm in New Madrid, Mo., which makes blast-resistant barriers and is branching out into the manufacture of blast-resistant structures, university officials said.

Southeast, through its polytechnic school, would test the structures to determine how well they withstand explosions, said Dennis Roedemeier, who heads the Missouri Research Corp.

The corporation, which coordinates business and technology research efforts at the university, will manage the blast-resistant grant project.

Roedemeier said it could get the university's foot in the door on future Defense Department research projects.

While this project focuses on blast-resistant structures, the technology could also be used to build structures that are hurricane- or earthquake-resistant, he said.

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday approved a spending bill that includes $77 million for defense projects in Missouri, most of it in the form of research projects.

The measure must now pass the full Senate and be reconciled with the House before being sent to President Bush to sign, said U.S. Sen. Kit Bond, who serves on the Senate committee.

"These Missouri projects will provide our troops with the cutting-edge technology and equipment they need to complete their missions in a post-9-11 world," Bond said in a prepared statement.

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