Hoeven Meets with Air Force Leaders to Build Support for North Dakota Base Priorities

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven this week met with top Air Force leaders to build support for North Dakota’s Air Force priorities. Hoeven met with General Paul Selva, Commander of the U.S. Air Force’s Air Mobility Command and Colonel Paul Bauman, Commander of the 319th Air Base Wing at Grand Forks Air Force Base to review operations at Grand Forks. Topics included the recently signed enhanced use lease agreement with Northrop Grumman, the base’s transition to its unmanned aerial systems (UAS) mission and strategies to build support for basing the KC-46 tanker mission in Grand Forks.

“The men and women at Grand Forks Air Force Base are doing a tremendous job with their current Global Hawk mission,” said Hoeven. “The base is in a strong competitive position to be selected as one of the new test sites for integrating UAS into our airspace and to house the KC-46 tanker mission. We’ve been working to make a strong case for Grand Forks because they have the right skills, the right infrastructure and strong community support for both of these missions.”

Hoeven has been working with local officials to establish the Grand Forks region as the premier northern hub for UAS. That includes working to complete an enhanced use lease that will make space at Grand Forks Air Force base available to the University of North Dakota (UND) and private sector companies to do cutting edge work with remotely piloted aircraft. Last year, Hoeven arranged for Northrop Grumman to meet with local leaders, and this spring, the company signed a strategic alliance agreement between the aerospace giant and the Grand Forks Base Realignment Impact Committee, UND, the UND Aerospace Foundation and the Northland Aerospace Foundation.

Hoeven has also been working to bring the KC-46 tanker mission to Grand Forks. He made the case for basing the tanker at Grand Forks with General Selva, who oversees the Air Force’s fleet of cargo planes and aerial refueling tankers. The Air Force is expected to make its next basing decisions for the KC-46 in 2016.