Hoeven: FY15 Defense Appropriations Bill Bolsters National Security, Supports Missions at North Dakota Bases

Committee Passes Legislation with Hoeven-Requested ICBM, B-52, Global Hawk Provisions

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today worked to include provisions in the Fiscal Year 2015 Department of Defense (DoD) Appropriations bill that will strengthen America’s national security and support missions at North Dakota’s bases. The legislation, which was approved today by the committee, includes strong support for the nation’s nuclear triad, modernization of the B-52 aircraft fleet and funding for the Global Hawk platform.

“The Defense Appropriations bill passed by the committee today strengthens our national security and supports defense priorities important to our state,” said Hoeven. “The men and women serving our country at North Dakota’s bases do a tremendous job, and we’re working to support their missions.”

Minot Air Force Base Priorities

The bill includes Hoeven-requested provisions important to Minot Air Force Base. The legislation maintains the nation’s nuclear forces and modernizes the B-52 bomber fleet, it:

• Directs DoD to maintain the ICBM force and the nuclear capable bomber force at the maximum level allowed under the New START Treaty. That means retaining all missile silos and maintaining the nuclear capable bomber fleet at 66 aircraft.

• Provides funding for the ICBM force at the DoD-requested level.

• Provides $21.6 million for the Nuclear Force Improvement Program to refurbish ICBM launch control centers, improve access roads, and replace and upgrade basic equipment used by ICBM and nuclear security forces personnel.

• Provides funding to modernize and enhance the B-52 bomber fleet including $6.3 million to finalize upgrades for the B-52 anti-skid landing gear system.

• Directs the Air Force to upgrade aging radars on the B-52 bomber.

“We need a strong nuclear deterrent to protect our country,” said Hoeven. “This legislation supports the mission at Minot Air Force Base and ensures that we maintain our missile silos and make important upgrades to the B-52 fleet. This is good for Minot and good for our country.”

Grand Forks Air Force Base Priorities

Hoeven worked to include provisions in the legislation to support missions at Grand Forks Air Force Base including funding the Global Hawk platform and supporting DoD’s Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) office. The legislation:

• Includes Hoeven secured funding for the Global Hawk Block 20 and Block 40, which are stationed at Grand Forks Air Force Base. DoD and the Air Force have now recommended going to the Global Hawk platform, something Hoeven has been working on. Congress has yet to fully endorse that plan and continued funding for the U-2 in Fiscal 2015 as well. Hoeven said he will continue working to secure congressional support for the Global Hawk, which is both newer technology and more cost-effective than the U-2.

• Provides $8.2 million for the Defense Department’s UAS research office, which oversees and researches the use of unmanned aircraft across the military services.

• Includes a Hoeven-requested directive to ensure that DoD’s UAS office works with the regional test sites, including Grand Forks, as they integrate UAS into the national airspace.

“The bill supports the missions at Grand Forks Air Force Base by funding the Global Hawk Block 20 and Block 40. The Global Hawk platform is the DoD’s preferred aircraft, rather than the older U-2, and we continue working to direct resources to this platform,” said Hoeven. “The legislation also bolsters the unmanned aircraft work being done in Grand Forks and supports DoD’s UAS research office.”

Additionally Hoeven worked to ensure the legislation includes strong support for DoD research and development programs and a provision to improve security at all military installations.

• Hoeven-requested language directs DoD to review and report on access control systems used at all military installations to improve security for DoD personnel and to ensure security systems are cost effective.

• Increases funding for competitive grants from several Defense Department agencies that will enable North Dakota entities, including North Dakota State University and the University of North Dakota, to compete for defense-related research funding.