Hoeven Pressing for Grand Forks Role in Arctic Mission, Worked to Retain CBP UAS Training & Global Hawk in FY17 Funding Agreement

Senator Meets with Grand Forks BRIC, Outlines Efforts to Support Base’s Missions

WASHINGTON – In a meeting with members of the Grand Forks Base Realignment Impact Committee (BRIC) today, Senator John Hoeven outlined his efforts to support the missions at the Grand Forks Air Force Base (GFAFB) and expand Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) operations at the base and in the surrounding region. To this end, Hoeven has been working to press for the Global Hawk’s role in U.S. Northern Command’s (NORTHCOM) Arctic operations. The senator secured a commitment from NORTHCOM’s Commander, General Lori Robinson, in December to visit GFAFB and review the activities at the base. 

In addition, Hoeven continues pressing the Air Force to use the academies at Grand Sky UAS Technology Park to train pilots for the Reaper to address the shortfall of pilot’s for this aircraft. The Reaper is manufactured by General Atomics, which opened a training academy at Grand Sky andlaunched its first UAS flight last July.

Hoeven, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, also worked to support priorities for the air base in the Fiscal Year 2017 funding agreement, which the Senate passed today, including:

  • $8 million to retain the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) UAS training program at GFAFB.
  • Language prohibiting any retirement or divestment of aircraft from the Air Force’s fleet of RQ-4 Global Hawks.
  • $15 million to standardize CBP’s Predator fleet, part of which is flown out of GFAFB, to reduce long-term operating costs.
  • $7.3 million to continue investments in UAS infrastructure, such as the DASR-11 digital radar system at, which was vital to the FAA’s approvalof beyond-line-of-sight operations for the Northern Plains UAS test site.

“Pilot training for unmanned aircraft and the Arctic mission fit perfectly with the capabilities of the Global Hawk and the expertise at the Grand Forks Air Force Base,” Hoeven said. “While we continue pressing for Grand Forks to have a role in NORTHCOM’s Arctic mission, we are also working to support the ongoing missions of the base. By maintaining the Global Hawk fleet and CBP’s training program at the base, we help ensure that it continues to play an important role in defending our nation and securing the northern border. That helps keep our country safe and supports UAS operations throughout the region.”