Hoeven: Appropriations Committee Approves Department of Defense Funding Legislation
Bill Includes Priorities for Minot, Grand Forks Air Force Bases
WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today announced that the Senate Appropriations Committee has passed the Defense Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2017, which includes important provisions to benefit North Dakota and bolster the nation’s defenses. Hoeven worked as a member of the Appropriations Committee to ensure the legislation included priorities for North Dakota and the nation.
Among them are more than $75 million in funding to replace aging Huey helicopters used for the missile fields, including Minot Air Force Base; $647 million for Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) programs that support the Minuteman III; and $220 million to modernize and upgrade the B-52 fleet in Minot.
Hoeven also worked to ensure that the Air Force devoted substantial resources to the Global Hawk mission and UAS development. That includes a total of $273 million to support the Global Hawk program, including the Block 20 and Block 40 variants based in Grand Forks; $7.3 million for the Department of Defense (DoD) to research and develop technologies that integrate DoD UAS into the national airspace; and Hoeven language requiring the DoD to report to Congress on efforts to increase its capabilities to operate in the Arctic, which will help determine the role that the Global Hawk UAS, based in Grand Forks, can play in the Arctic region.
“With two of the three legs of the Nuclear Triad at Minot Air Force base, unmanned aerial systems missions at Grand Forks Air Force Base and Fargo’s Hector Field, North Dakota plays a remarkably vital role in defending our nation,” Hoeven said. “We worked to make sure that the new Defense Appropriations bill provides the resources and tools our military needs to protect our country, and our North Dakota bases are a key part of that.”
Additional Important Provisions in the 2017 Defense Appropriations Bill
Minot Air Force Base:
• UH-1N Helicopter Replacement – $75 million increase to replace the Hueys at Minot.
• B-52 Funding – $220 million for B-52-related programs. The funding supports new initiatives, including radar modernization and upgraded data links, as well as continuing previous upgrades such as putting smart weapons in the bomb bay and upgrading the B-52 combat communications system.
• ICBM Funding – $647 million for ICBM programs supporting the Minuteman III.
• Long Range Stand Off (LRSO) - $95 million for the new nuclear cruise missile program.
• Nuclear Forces – Hoeven-Tester language to ensure DoD keeps all bombers, ICBMs and silos permitted under the New START agreement and makes no additional cuts to nuclear forces.
• Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (new ICBM program) – Full funding of the Air Force request for $113 million to begin design work on the system to replace the Minuteman III ICBM. Hoeven is working with DoD to expedite GBSD in FY 16 and provide full FY 17 funding to ensure this multi-year program stays on schedule and within its budget.
Grand Forks Air Force Base: UAS
• Preserving Global Hawk Program – Includes Hoeven provision supporting a continuing commitment by the Air Force to the Global Hawk.
• Global Hawk Funding – A total of $273 million to support the Global Hawk program, including the Block 20 and Block 40 variants based in Grand Forks.
• Ground Based Sense and Avoid (GBSAA) – $3 million to field new equipment and software in places like Grand Forks and Fargo to enhance sense and avoid capabilities necessary to integrate unmanned aircraft into the national airspace.
• Unmanned Aircraft Systems Research – $7.3 million for DoD to research and develop technologies that integrate DoD UAS into the national airspace. Hoeven language also instructs DoD to use the FAA test sites and the UAS Center of Excellence to perform this development work.
• Undergraduate RPA Flight Training – $3 million increase to support RPA flight training for undergraduate level Air Force ROTC pilots. UND is well positioned to provide this kind of training.
• Arctic Missions – Hoeven language requiring the Department of Defense to report to Congress on efforts to increase its capabilities to operate in the Arctic, which will help determine the role that the Global Hawk UAS, based in Grand Forks, can play in the Arctic region.
Research, Civil Air Patrol, National Guard
• DoD Research programs - Funding to ensure various North Dakota companies and universities, like NDSU and UND, can compete for DoD research and development projects.
• Civil Air Patrol – Regained full funding for CAP’s operations and aircraft budgets.
• Advanced Cargo Handling System – Directed that procurement of an Advanced Cargo Handling System for the CH-47, which is a high priority item for the National Guard. UTC Aerospace in Jamestown, N.D., will be able to compete to provide its version of this system.
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