Hoeven Outlines Importance of North Dakota's Air Force Missions in Meeting with USAF Secretary Nominee

Senator Working to Build UAS Missions, Secure Arctic Mission at GFAFB, Modernize Nuclear Triad

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator John Hoeven this week met Heather Wilson, the nominee to serve as secretary of the U.S. Air Force, to underscore the importance of North Dakota’s Air Force missions in defending the nation. Hoeven pressed for Wilson’s support to continue modernizing the nuclear mission at Minot, Global Hawk and unmanned aerial system (UAS) operations in Grand Forks, as well as a future Arctic mission, and the North Dakota Air Guard’s Intelligence Targeting mission. Wilson, an Air Force veteran, is the current President of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Her nomination must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

“Heather Wilson will bring tremendous experience as Secretary of the Air Force,” said Hoeven. “As a veteran of the Air Force, she has the firsthand experience to lead the men and women of our Air Force. Given the security challenges around the globe, we need a strong defense, and that includes the good work being done by the Air Force in North Dakota. We secured Wilson’s commitment to support the vital missions being conducted at the Minot and Grand Forks Air Force Bases and by our Air Guard.”

Grand Forks Air Force Base

Hoeven highlighted the one-of-a-kind capabilities being developed at the Grand Forks Air Force Base and Grand Sky Technology Park. The senator urged the Air Force to use the training academies at Grand Sky, adjacent to Grand Forks Air Force Base, to train UAS pilots for the Global Hawk as well as the MQ-9 Reaper. Hoeven played a key role in bringing Northrop Grumman and General Atomics to Grand Sky to establish these training facilities.

Hoeven also made the case for basing a new Arctic Mission at Grand Forks Air Force Base. Hoeven highlighted the growing missions at Grand Forks Air Force Base and encouraged use of the RQ-4 Global Hawk, which is based in Grand Forks, to support missions in the Arctic region. 

Minot Air Force Base

Hoeven outlined the importance of maintaining and modernizing the nuclear triad, including the B-52 bombers and land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) based at Minot Air Force Base. Hoeven worked to secure provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that support Minot’s missions, including $18 million to start replacing the Huey helicopters used to secure the missile fields, $1.36 billion authorized for new B-21 bomber work, and strong support for ICBMs, and the Long Range Stand Off (LRSO) program to replace the Air Launched Cruise Missile. 

Air National Guard Missions in Fargo

Hoeven stressed the importance of the missions being performed by the Air National Guard in Fargo, including the National Guard Intelligence Targeting Mission. Hoeven worked to include $7.3 million for a new secure facility to support the North Dakota Air National Guard’s Intelligence Targeting Mission at Hector Field.