Hoeven: Senate Confirms Lloyd Austin as Secretary of Defense

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today issued the following statement after the Senate confirmed Lloyd Austin to serve as the Secretary of Defense.

“Lloyd Austin has a deep knowledge of, and experience in, our nation’s Armed Forces, having achieved the rank of four-star general and served in several key leadership positions. We appreciate his continued service to our nation and look forward to working with him to ensure our servicemembers receive the support they deserve and the resources they need to be successful in their missions over the long term. In particular, we welcome Secretary Austin’s recognition of the critical importance of our nuclear missions. Accordingly, we will continue our efforts to keep the modernization of our nation’s nuclear forces on schedule to maintain a credible deterrent, as well as invest in our unmanned aircraft platforms to maximize their effectiveness in a variety of scenarios.”

As a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee, Hoeven helped secure the following priorities in the Fiscal Year 2021 funding legislation passed by Congress:

  • Fully funding a three-percent pay raise for servicemembers.
  • Minot Air Force Base  More than $2.3 billion to keep nuclear modernization efforts on schedule, as well as $194 million for new helicopters and $590 to maintain the existing intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) fleet. 
  • Grand Forks Air Force Base  Language preventing the retirement of the RQ-4 Global Hawk, including those based in Grand Forks, and $29 million to enable the aircraft to reroute around adverse weather.
  • Defense research and education opportunities for the University of North Dakota (UND), North Dakota State University (NDSU) and businesses in the state, including:
    • $20 million for advanced coatings research.
    • $17 million for the DoD Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (DEPSCOR) program, of which UND and NDSU are a part.
    • $10 million for Navy research into UAS payloads and performance.
    • $7 million for developing advanced power and battery systems for spacecraft.
    • $5 million to develop augmented reality systems for Army vehicles.
    • $2.5 million to support a new silicone solar cell research project at NDSU.