Hoeven: Senate Passes Strong FY19 Defense Appropriations Bill that Invests in North Dakota Missions, Accelerates Nuclear Modernization

As Member of Defense Approps Committee, Senator Supported Military Pay Raise, Nuclear Upgrades at Minot, UAS Operations & Research in Grand Forks

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee, today announced that the full Senate has passed the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 defense appropriations bill, which includes important priorities he secured to bolster North Dakota’s military missions. Hoeven priorities in the legislation include: 

  • Fully funding a 2.6 percent pay raise for military members. 
  • Modernization of the nation’s nuclear forces by providing new engines and other upgrades for the B-52 as well as replacements for the nation’s cruise missiles and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) at Minot Air Force Base. 
  • Strong support to advance unmanned aerial systems (UAS) operations in the state, including $100 million to support the Global Hawk Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) at Grand Forks Air Force Base, allowing for the procurement of an additional aircraft.

“As a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee, I worked to provide strong support for North Dakota’s military members and their missions,” Hoeven said. “This defense funding legislation funds a pay raise for our hardworking men and women in uniform while also providing them with the tools they need to keep our nation safe. That includes the necessary funding to accelerate the modernization of our nuclear forces, which is good for Minot Air Force Base and will ensure we have a strong and credible deterrent. The bill also provides strong funding for UAS operations – $100 million for the BACN mission – which will help Grand Forks Air Force Base procure an additional aircraft.”

Modernizing the Nation’s Nuclear Forces

  • Nearly $625 million for the Long Range Stand Off (LRSO) missile to replace the aging Air Launched Cruise Missile carried on the B-52. This is $10 million above the administration’s request and allows the program to continue moving ahead of schedule.
  • $555 million to sustain the existing fleet of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).
  • $459 million for upgrades to the B-52, including the procurement of new engines. The bill also provides $60 million to accelerate other B-52 upgrades.
  • $345 million for the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent to replace the Minuteman III.
  • $288 million to replace the UH-1N Huey helicopters that provide security for the ICBM silos.

Advancing UAS Operations

  • $386 for the Global Hawk, including the RQ-4 Global Hawk program at the Grand Forks Air Force Base including the $100 million to support the Global Hawk BACN mission, which was designed in response to the urgent operational needs of deployed forces and provides excellent communications capabilities at relatively low cost, making it both important to the nation’s defense and cost-effective. The funding allows for the procurement of an additional aircraft.
  • $7.8 million for research into unmanned traffic management, $4 million above the administration’s request.

Additional Priorities

  • Fully funds a 2.6 percent pay raise for all military members.
  • $5 million to adapt the lightweight cargo loading system produced by UTC Aerospace Systems in Jamestown for the CH-52 and V-22 platforms.
  • $4 million for a helicopter pilot training initiative, similar to the ROTC flight school funding that Hoeven secured in FY2018. The senator is advocating for the military to use flight schools like the University of North Dakota (UND) to address the pilot shortage.
  • Makes significant investments in research and development funding, which will allow North Dakota State University, UND and North Dakota companies to compete to work on Department of Defense (DoD) priorities. This includes:
    • $25 million for Army advanced materials development.
    • $12 million for the DoD Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR).
    • $10 million for coating technologies for the Air Force.
    • $10 million for the Navy to research UAS payloads and performance.
    • $5 million for augmented reality systems for Army land vehicles.