|7:50 PM EDT||
Ray LaHood, R-IL 18th
Mr. LaHOOD. The Illinois Technology Transition Center is a public-private collaboration between academia, industry, and government. It collaborates with the Department of Defense, and it has identified innovative technology applications that meet DOD mission requirements and strives to take technology from the laboratory to use by DOD within 12 to 18 months.
This is an extraordinary opportunity for the public and the private to come together. The lion's share of the money that funds this is private dollars. It is not Federal dollars. It comes from people who have businesses and people who want to invest in smart people and smart ideas.
And the answer to your question about Iraq is that one of the technologies that is being developed is being developed in my hometown of Peoria by a company called Firefly. And they are developing a revolutionary battery that will have the opportunity to withstand huge amounts of heat and not become the kind of traditional batteries that are currently used.
Now, this would not have been able to come about if it hadn't been the collaboration of a private business and the Federal Government coming together in a collaboration.
So are some of the technologies that are being developed in this center being used in Iraq? The answer is yes, they are.
So the point is that there are many innovative approaches that are being taken here. And this kind of collaboration really takes the smart ideas that people in the private sector are using and trying to develop them with the public sector. And some revolutionary things have really come about. And I could name at least six or eight of them, but this is an opportunity for the private sector to take the lion's share of the money and collaborate with the public sector.
Many of these innovative approaches are being requested by the Defense Department. Try them out, test them out, see if they work, and then send them out to the private sector to be funded. And some of these could not come about without this center. They would not come about without this center.
So I wish the gentleman would have looked into this a little bit further, and I wish he would appreciate the idea that what is being developed here could not be developed without the opportunity for the public and private sector to work together.
This is an appropriate appropriation for the defense bill. That is why it is not in any other bill. And it is appropriate, because many of the things that are being tested, many of the innovative approaches will be used by the Defense Department.
Now, I don't know if the Department of the Navy requested this or not. I don't know the answer to that. But I know that some of the innovative approaches have been requested.
The company that I mentioned, Firefly, is in direct collaboration with the Defense Department on a regular basis. And they did ask for Firefly to help them develop this. Eventually Firefly will be spending all of the money, and hopefully, what will happen is that once the battery is in full development, it will create jobs in central Illinois, in my district.
And when people say to me, Congressman, what are you going to do about the erosion of the industrial base? It is to think outside the box. It is to take smart people to get them to think outside the box to create opportunities that eventually will create jobs that no one ever thought could exist in central Illinois because in my district people worked at Caterpillar for years and worked in other industries for years. This is the kind of thing that creates opportunities and jobs and could not
come about without a collaboration between the Defense Department and this company that exists in my district.