Hoeven Continues Efforts to Support ND National Guard, Expand & Strengthen Missions

Senator Working to Secure MQ-1C Aircraft for Army Guard, Keep Air Guard’s MQ-9 Up-to-Date

WASHINGTON – At a hearing of the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee this week, Senator John Hoeven continued his efforts to advance the following priorities with Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson, Chief of the National Guard Bureau (NGB): 

  • Securing the MQ-1C Gray Eagle unmanned aerial system (UAS) for the North Dakota Army National Guard.
  • Ensuring the 119th Wing’s MQ-9 Reapers are kept up-to-date and converted from the Block 1 to the Block 5 aircraft.
  • Establishing an Army National Guard Line of Communication Bridge (LOCB) training site at Camp Grafton, consistent with language that Hoeven included in Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 appropriations legislation.

“Our National Guard members do a tremendous job, whether serving here at home or overseas, and defend our nation right alongside their active duty counterparts,” said Hoeven. “That’s why we need the MQ-1C Gray Eagle to be integrated into Army Guard operations and training, which will improve overall readiness. We also continue to enhance the MQ-9 Reaper mission in Fargo, giving the aircraft even greater capabilities to support our warfighters.” 

Securing the MQ-1C Gray Eagle

Hoeven made the case that the Army Guard should be equipped with, and trained on, the Gray Eagle platform to ensure Guard members are ready to deploy and fight alongside their active duty Army counterparts. The Army currently operates the Gray Eagle across all of its Combat Aviation Brigades.

Enhancing the MQ-9 Reaper Mission

Hoeven highlighted the critical support the 119th Wing in Fargo provides to military operations across the globe. The Block 5 conversion will strengthen the unit’s mission by providing the MQ-9 aircraft with enhanced range and communications capabilities. This builds on Hoeven’s efforts to secure a new operations center for the 119th Wing. The senator worked to fund the facility, which is needed to support new advanced technology and equipment, and to prevent interruptions for the wing’s operations.