Hoeven Advocates Air Force Leaders to Build on Success of Unmanned Aerial Systems Operations at Grand Forks

WASHINGTON, D.C.- Sen. John Hoeven Thursday urged Air Force Assistant Secretary Terry Yonkers and Air Force officials to take advantage of the work of Grand Forks Air Force Base in developing and growing unmanned aerial systems (UAS) capabilities. Hoeven, at a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee, also offered his support for growing missions at the base.   

With preparations underway to house the Global Hawk at Grand Forks Air Force Base, Hoeven pressed officials to continue to maintain and build the nation’s UAS missions. Hoeven noted the progress of Grand Forks Air Force Base and collaborative efforts with the University of North Dakota’s UAS Center of Excellence, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the North Dakota National Guard, in developing UAS technologies. He urged officials to expand the Air Force’s UAS operations to ensure the United States’ remains a leader in the sector.  

“This is incredibly important for the future of the country,” said Hoeven. “I would ask that you focus attention on Grand Forks Air Force Base and making sure that we have whatever we need to continue to make that mission the best possible mission.  

“We’re trying to make sure that [Grand Forks’ UAS operation] is an asset and opportunity for the Air Force,” said Hoeven. 

Hoeven also addressed the importance of maintaining fuel lines at Grand Forks Air Force Base, not only for current operations but also to encourage future missions at the base.  In February, the Defense Department awarded the contract to build new KC-46A tankers, and is in the process of determining where to base the tankers.  Hoeven is working to ensure the base is equipped to house the tankers. He urged Air Force officials to station the KC-46A at Grand Forks.