Hoeven, Heitkamp Get Commitment from Commander of NORTHCOM to Visit Grand Forks Air Force Base

Senators Also Push Role in Arctic Mission for Grand Forks

WASHINGTON – Senators John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) today met with U.S. Air Force (USAF) General Lori Robinson, leader of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and Commander, U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM), headquartered in Colorado. Gen. Robinson, at Hoeven’s and Heitkamp’s request, agreed to visit Grand Forks Air Force Base and review activities at the base.

Hoeven and Heitkamp also discussed NORTHCOM’s operations in the Arctic region. The senators highlighted how the RQ-4 Global Hawk mission at Grand Forks Air Force Base could contribute to NORTHCOM’s Arctic mission.

“It is important that General Robinson come to Grand Forks to see firsthand what is happening at the base, including the work with the Global Hawk,” Hoeven and Heitkamp said. “The Global Hawk’s unique capabilities to gather information over a broad area and fly long distances make it an ideal aircraft to greatly contribute to NORTHCOM’s activities in the Arctic. Grand Forks Air Force Base is also strategically located in proximity to the Arctic, making the base uniquely qualified to support the Arctic mission, which is increasingly important to our nation’s security. Simply put, the Global Hawk can help increase our awareness of activity in this region, and it is already strategically based to provide immediate assistance.”

Grand Forks Air Force Base is closer to some parts of the Arctic than even Alaska. Increased activity in the Arctic region, including more activity by Russia, has necessitated American activity and surveillance to ensure safety and stability. For the past several years, NORTHCOM has been working with the Canadian Joint Operations Command to coordinate operations, including domain awareness, emergency response and training activities.