Congress Passes FY 2019 NDAA with Hoeven-Cosponsored Provisions to Improve National Guard Promotions & Benefits

Legislation Strengthens Investments in Nuclear Upgrades & UAS, Authorizes Minot Helicopter Facility & Fargo Readiness Center

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee as well as the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Committee, today issued the following statement after the Senate passed the conference committee’s report for the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019. Hoeven worked to include important priorities for North Dakota in the legislation, including measures he cosponsored to address delays and disparities in the promotions and benefits received by members of the National Guard. Further, the bill authorizes funds for the state’s nuclear missions, unmanned aerial systems (UAS) operations, new engines for the B-52 and a 2.6 percent pay raise for all military members. The legislation has now passed both chambers of Congress and goes to the president to be signed into law.

“This legislation continues our strong support for North Dakota’s missions and its servicemembers,” Hoeven said. “We worked hard to ensure the bill authorizes the funding we need to continue upgrading our nuclear forces and expand our UAS capabilities. The legislation also advances new facilities in our state, including a helicopter complex in Minot and a readiness center in Fargo. On top of this, it helps provide the pay our men and women in uniform deserve and includes parts of legislation I cosponsored to ensure National Guard members receive their promotions in a timely fashion as well as fair compensation for their service.”

Hoeven’s National Guard Provisions

The NDAA includes provisions from the National Guard Promotion Accountability Act, bipartisan legislation Hoeven cosponsored that addresses delays in the federal recognition of promotions for National Guard members and provides compensation for raises missed during the federal waiting period.

The bill also includes provisions from the Hoeven-cosponsored National Guard and Reserves Benefits Parity Act. Specifically, this will allow National Guard members to receive a high-deployment allowance for lengthy and numerous deployments as well as frequent mobilizations. Further, the bill ensures servicemembers who also work as federal employees will not receive a reduction in their pay grade due to deployments in the uniformed services or National Guard.

Support for North Dakota’s Missions

Hoeven also worked to ensure the NDAA contains provisions and authorized funding in support of North Dakota’s missions, including:

Minot Air Force Base

  • More than $400 million for upgrades to the B-52, including the procurement of new engines.
  • $288 million to replace the UH-1N Huey helicopters that provide security for the intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) silos.
  • $66 million for a new helicopter facility at the Minot Air Force Base. The existing facilities are aging and will not accommodate the anticipated replacement of the Huey helicopters deployed at the base.
  • $700 million for the Long Range Stand Off (LRSO) missile to replace the aging Air Launched Cruise Missile carried on the B-52. 
  • A Hoeven-sponsored amendment requiring the Air Force and the National Nuclear Security Administration to submit regular reports describing progress both to develop a new nuclear cruise missile and to refurbish the nuclear cruise missile warhead. The senator’s amendment will help ensure that these efforts stay on schedule.
  • More than $550 million to sustain the existing fleet of ICBMs.
  • $414 million for the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent to replace the Minuteman III.

Grand Forks Air Force Base

  • Nearly $300 million for the Global Hawk, including the RQ-4 Global Hawk program at Grand Forks Air Force Base.
  • More than $100 million authorized for the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN). Hoeven also successfully added $100 million for BACN in the Defense Appropriations bill passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee, enough to enable the Air Force to purchase an additional Global Hawk aircraft to carry the BACN payload in support of the operations at the Grand Forks Air Force Base.

North Dakota National Guard

  • $32 million for a Readiness Center in Fargo to house, support and train three Army National Guard units – the 141st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, the 191st Military Police Company and the 112th Aviation Regiment.