Hoeven: Senate Defense Appropriations Bill Strengthens Pay & Benefits for Servicemembers, Supports Critical Nuclear & UAS Missions in North Dakota

Senator Also Secured Funds to Help Advance Research of NDSU, UND & North Dakota Businesses

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee, today helped advance Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 funding legislation to benefit the nation’s servicemembers, support critical nuclear and unmanned aerial systems (UAS) missions and advance research and development efforts in North Dakota.

“This legislation is an investment in our men and women in uniform, providing the full pay increase we authorized in the NDAA, establishing a new tuition assistance program for the Air Guard and maintaining the helicopter pilot training initiative we restarted at UND,” said Hoeven. “At the same time, we ensured the Senate’s defense funding bill continues the modernization of our nuclear forces and advances our UAS capabilities, both of which are central to maintaining our security now and into the future. I look forward to securing the legislation’s approval in the full Senate as soon as possible.”

The legislation, which was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee today and sent to the full Senate for consideration, includes the following priorities which Hoeven worked to secure:

Benefits for Servicemembers

  • Fully funds a 3.1 percent pay increase for servicemembers.
  • Establishes an Air National Guard tuition assistance program, similar to the one in place under the Army National Guard.
  • Continues the Helicopter Pilot Training Initiative at the University of North Dakota (UND). Hoeven secured funding in FY2019 to restart this program.

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.

Supporting North Dakota Research & Development

  • $8.35 million to adapt the lightweight cargo loading system produced by Collins Aerospace in Jamestown to be installed on the Marine Corps MV-22 platform.
  • Providing competitive funding for which North Dakota State University (NDSU), UND and North Dakota businesses are eligible:
    • $30 million for Army research on advanced materials to make its vehicles more durable and lightweight.
    • $16 million for coating technology research, including $5 million for Air Force research like that being undertaken by Elinor Specialty Coatings in Fargo.
    • $12 million for the DOD Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (DEPSCOR) program.
    • $10 million for Navy research into UAS payloads and performance, consistent with the work of Ideal Aerosmith in Grand Forks.
    • $5 million for augmented reality systems for Army vehicles, which UND is currently developing.