Hoeven: Air Force Releases Arctic Strategy

Senator Stressed to USAF Vice Chair Importance of GFAFB in Securing Region; Included Legislation in NDAA to Ensure Investment in Arctic Capabilities

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee, today issued the following statement after the U.S. Air Force (USAF) released its new defense strategy for the Arctic region. The strategy outlines the Air Force’s approach to the region, including efforts to project power, train and equip personnel to operate in the Arctic and invest in infrastructure that supports Arctic operations.

Hoeven previewed the strategy with USAF Vice Chair General Stephen Wilson last week, discussed the importance of securing the Arctic and stressed how the Grand Forks Air Force Base is well-positioned to fulfill critical roles within the new strategy. The senator highlighted the base’s Global Hawk mission, which can provide significant intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities in the region, as well as its ability to house future USAF assets as they transit to and from the Arctic.

“The Air Force’s new strategy recognizes that the Arctic is critically important to our national security,” said Hoeven. “Between its location and significant ISR capabilities, the Grand Forks Air Force Base can bolster USAF activities throughout the region and help keep our adversaries in check. That’s the case we made to General Wilson, and it’s a priority we will continue advancing, including with our amendment in the NDAA, to ensure we secure the Arctic against growing threats to our nation.”

The new strategy aligns with legislation Hoeven secured in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which is currently under consideration in the Senate, directing the Air Force to define how its next budget request will support activities in the Arctic. When passed into law, this measure will help ensure the development of real capabilities to implement the strategy for this increasingly important region.

This is the latest in Hoeven’s efforts to secure an Arctic mission for Grand Forks. The senator previously led a delegation to NORTHCOM headquarters in 2014 and hosted the former NORTHCOM Commander in North Dakota in 2017. Hoeven also advanced provisions in the FY2020 NDAA requiring a report on China and Russia’s activities in the Arctic, as well as a report to outline how Northern Tier bases, like Minot and Grand Forks, can be utilized to advance U.S. interests in the region.