Hoeven Marks Ribbon Cutting for 119th Air Wing Intelligence Targeting Facility

Senator Secured Funding for New Facility, Continues Working to Support NDNG Priorities & Ensure Guard Benefits

FARGO, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today joined Major General Al Dohrmann, the Adjutant General for the North Dakota National Guard (NDNG), and members of the 119th Air Wing to mark the ribbon cutting for the Intel, Surveillance and Reconnaissance facility at Hector Field in Fargo. As a member of the Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Committee, Hoeven secured $7.3 million for the new facility in the Fiscal Year 2016 funding bill.

The 119th Air Wing’s intelligence targeting group is tasked with assisting military commanders in identifying, analyzing and eliminating enemy threats. The facility has the capacity to accommodate more than 200 personnel and was needed as the mission quickly outgrew the existing space at Hector when the mission began in 2015. It is equipped to keep sensitive data secure and will provide targeting training following technical school for all Air National Guard intelligence personnel.

“The 119th has a tremendous record of service, and it is fitting that they would be tasked with a mission so important to our nation’s security,” Hoeven said. “The new facility was a much-needed investment to ensure our Air Guard members can continue excelling in their work. It provides the capability to keep critical information secure as our military conducts both kinetic and non-kinetic warfare. We deeply appreciate the wide-ranging service our Guard members provide, and we continue to show our gratitude by giving them the support they need in their missions and providing the benefits they deserve. That is why I am working to authorize private training, like that available at Grand Sky, for our National Guard UAS pilots, which is important for the 119th’s Reaper mission. We have also recently passed health and education benefits for Guard members on pre-planned deployments like Operation Noble Eagle.”

            Hoeven continues working to advance NDNG missions and priorities, while also securing the benefits Guard members have earned through their service to the nation. The senator’s recent efforts include:

Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Pilot Training 

Hoeven authored an amendment in the Senate’s recently-passed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that allows the National Guard to send unmanned aircraft pilots to a civilian contractor for training if the Air Force lacks the capacity to train pilots in a timely fashion. For many years, the Air Force has struggled to train enough pilots to fly the Predator and Reaper, and the Air National Guard has often seen delays in getting its pilots fully trained for these platforms. This impacts the 119th Air Wing, which also conducts MQ-9 Reaper operations.

Hoeven’s amendment ensures that pilots are able to train using UAS training academies, like those at Grand Sky Technology Park, adjacent to Grand Forks Air Force Base. Hoeven played a key role in bringing Northrop Grumman and General Atomics to Grand Sky to establish these training facilities.

Guard Benefits

            Hoeven also helped secure a provision in the NDAA similar to the Reserve Component Benefits Parity Act, legislation he cosponsored that authorizes health care benefits for members of the National Guard who are deployed for pre-planned operations. The Senate also recently passed, and the president signed into law, legislation to improve the G.I. bill. Hoeven worked to include language in the bill that makes reservists deployed under domestic, pre-planned missions eligible for education benefits. Both of these provisions will help members of the North Dakota Guard who deploy to Washington, D.C., as part of Operation Noble Eagle.