Hoeven: Senate National Defense Authorization Act Includes Strong Support for ND Defense Policy Priorities

Senator Worked to Retain Global Hawk & Support Space Force, Arctic mission for GFAFB, Ensure Continued Nuclear Modernizations for MAFB

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today outlined important North Dakota defense policy priorities in the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which was approved by the U.S. Senate today, including:

  • Supports service members and authorizes a 3 percent pay raise.
  • Restricts the retirement of the global hawk and continues to stand up the Space Force and Arctic missions important to Grand Forks Air Force Base.
  • Provides for continued Nuclear Modernization, including authorization for B-52 upgrades, as well as new helicopters and ICBMs at Minot Air Force Base.

“The NDAA provides vital support for our men and women in uniform and ensures that our forces have the best technology and training. It authorizes important defense priorities for our nation, including the UAS and nuclear missions in North Dakota,” said Hoeven.

“Specifically, we worked to secure support for the Global Hawk mission, development of the Arctic missions and the Space Force, which is important to the Grand Forks Air Force Base. We continue to advance nuclear modernization efforts, including for the B-52 and the ICBMs, to support the missions at Minot Air Force Base. The NDAA also includes provisions for our Guard and authorizes construction of a new Reaper operations center in Fargo,” Hoeven continued. “The NDAA sets our defense policy and now as a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee, I’ll work to appropriate funding for these vital defense priorities.”

Unmanned Aerial Systems in Grand Forks

Hoeven worked to ensure support for the UAS missions flown by the Air Force out of Grand Forks, including:

  • Restricting the retirement of the Global Hawk, including the RQ-4. The Air Force must certify that no intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities are compromised before being allowed to retire any global hawks.
  • Requiring the Air Force to budget for Arctic Missions. Hoeven included a provision requiring the Air Force define how its next budget will support activities in the Arctic, to ensure the Air Force translates strategic concepts into real capabilities and prevent the U.S. from ceding this critical region to our adversaries.
  • Standing up the Space Force, including supporting continued research with entities like the University of North Dakota (UND).
  • Authorizing funding for extreme cold weather research, which is conducted at UND and other universities. 

Nuclear Modernization at Minot Air Force Base

The FY2021 NDAA continues authorization for nuclear modernization efforts that support the missions at Minot Air Force Base, including:

  • Authorizing upgrades to the B-52, including the new engine program.
  • A new nuclear cruise missile, the Long Range Stand Off missile, to replace the Air Launched Cruise Missile carried on the B-52.
  • Authorization for the new cruise missile warheads.
  • $1.5 billion in funding authority for the new Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD), the replacement for the Minuteman III.
    • Hoeven included an amendment to prevent delays in deploying the GBSD. All nuclear weapons must be capable of withstanding electro-magnetic pulses (EMPs). Hoeven’s amendment requires the Air Force to report on how the GBSD will be protected from EMPs to keep the replacement on schedule.
  • Prohibiting the reduction of ICBMs to any lower than the currently deployed 400 missiles.
  • Authorization for a replacement helicopter for the aging UH-1 helicopters that provide security for the ICBM silos.

Support for the North Dakota National Guard 

The NDAA also provides support for the missions of the North Dakota National Guard, including:

  • Authorizing $170 million to purchase new MQ-9 aircraft and preventing the premature shutdown of the production line.
  • $17.5M in funding authorization for the 119th Wing’s Consolidated Remote Piloted Aircraft Operations Facility. 

Additionally the NDAA authorizes operation of the radar warning system at Cavalier Air Force Station to detect and warn against a Surface-Launched Ballistic Missile attack on North America.