Hoeven Meets with Air Force Secretary Nominee to Secure Support for North Dakota Nuclear & UAS Missions

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee, this week met with former Ambassador Barbara Barrett, the nominee to serve as Secretary of the Air Force, to outline the importance of North Dakota’s nuclear and unmanned aerial systems (UAS) missions. Hoeven invited Barrett to visit the state once she is confirmed to see firsthand the important role of the state’s Air Force missions. 

Hoeven outlined the importance of:

  • Continuing to modernize the country’s nuclear forces in order to maintain a credible deterrent.
  • Using North Dakota’s UAS expertise, including in the Arctic.

“North Dakota plays an incredibly important role for our nation’s Air Force as home to two legs of the nuclear triad and vital UAS missions,” said Hoeven. “We had a good meeting with Ambassador Barrett, the president’s nominee to lead the U.S. Air Force, and outlined the importance of advancing nuclear modernization efforts and utilizing North Dakota’s leadership to advance our nation’s UAS capabilities.”

Hoeven’s meeting with Barrett follows the senator’s work as a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee to secure funding in the FY2020 Senate Defense Appropriations Bill to advance North Dakota Air Force priorities, including:

Modernizing the Nuclear Deterrent

  • $712.5 million for the Long Range Stand Off (LRSO) missile to replace the aging Air Launched Cruise Missile carried on the B-52. 
  • $660 million for the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent to replace the Minuteman III, which is $65 million above the administration’s request to ensure the effort stays ahead of schedule.
  • $330 million for upgrades to the B-52, including the procurement of new engines. 
  • Nearly $171 million to replace the UH-1N Huey helicopters that provide security for the ICBM silos.

Advancing UAS Capabilities & Integration

  • Fully funds the Global Hawk mission, including the RQ-4 Global Hawk in Grand Forks. Further, the bill provides $25 million to support spare sensors for the RQ-4, enabling it to better meet the broad demand for this platform’s capabilities.
  • Includes $4 million above the administration’s request for UAS research at the DOD, which supports Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) work at the Northern Plains UAS Test Site.