Hoeven Continues Work on Grand Forks AFB Priorities

Senator Meets with GFAFB BRIC Members on Grand Sky, Arctic Mission

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator John Hoeven today met with members of the Grand Forks Base Realignment Impact Committee (BRIC) to continue the region’s leadership as a premier hub for unmanned aerial system (UAS) and to further initiatives important to Grand Forks Air Force Base, including the Grand Sky technology park and a Global Hawk mission securing U.S interests in the Arctic.

“This is an exciting time for Grand Forks Air Force Base and the entire region,” Hoeven said. “The BRIC team has done a tremendous job and we continue working to further our state’s leadership in unmanned aerial systems, which is bringing new missions and partnerships to the base. We continue working to finalize the lease for the Grand Sky technology park and on an initiative to use our Global Hawks to secure the Arctic.”

BRIC members briefed Hoeven on their meeting today at the Pentagon with Kathleen Ferguson, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, to discuss developments around GFAFB and to seek Air Force support for new initiatives.

Grand Sky Technology Park

BRIC informed Ferguson that they expect a key final document, a letter of intent from Northrop Grumman, will be signed soon. That letter will enable the Air Force to finalize the enhanced use lease (EUL) so that Grand Forks County can begin to develop the leased property.

Hoeven has led the effort to help Grand Forks County secure an EUL with the U.S. Air Force for the development of Grand Sky, a cutting-edge UAS technology and business park the county plans to build on approximately 217 acres at Grand Forks Air Force Base.

Securing an anchor tenant for the park was key to the project. In 2012, Hoeven brought senior Northrop Grumman officials, including Tom Vice, Northrop Grumman’s Corporate VP and President of Aerospace Systems, to Grand Forks to see firsthand the tremendous synergies that are developing between BRIC, UND, the UND Aerospace Foundation and Northland Aerospace Foundation. As a result, Northrop Grumman, one of the world’s premier aerospace and defense technology companies, committed to be the park’s first tenant. Northrop Grumman makes the RQ-4 Global Hawk, which is operated by the Air Combat Command unit at GFAFB.

Arctic Initiative

The Arctic initiative Hoeven started with BRIC last month now is in front of Air Force officials. In October, Hoeven and BRIC members visited Northern Command to understand the U.S. military’s development of its strategy to secure and defend American interests in the Arctic. The need for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance in that region strongly underscores the needs for capabilities like the Global Hawk. The position of Grand Forks as a northern tier base reinforces the base’s relevance to emerging Arctic missions. BRIC highlighted the Arctic with Ferguson as a first step in working with the Air Force to position the base to meet future Arctic requirements.

KC-46 Aerial Refueling Tanker

Hoeven agreed with BRIC regarding the importance of a possible future tanker mission at Grand Forks. Following Hoeven's efforts to promote GFAFB in 2012, the Air Force identified the base as a finalist for a new tanker mission and indicated it would receive strong consideration in future base selections for the new KC-46 aerial refueling tanker. Hoeven said that the tanker would be a big win for the base.