Hoeven Statement After President Signs FY2019 NDAA

Legislation Includes Hoeven Backed Provisions to Improve National Guard Promotions and Benefits, Invest in Nuclear Upgrades & UAS, Authorize Minot Helicopter Facility & Fargo Readiness Center

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee as well as the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Committee, today issued the following statement after the President signed into law the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). 

“The president signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act, which provides strong support for our nation’s military and our service members,” said Hoeven. “It provides a pay raise for military members and ensures that they have the tools they need to complete their missions. That includes strong support for our nuclear deterrent, which benefits Minot Air Force Base, and strong support for unmanned aerial systems operations for Grand Forks Air Force Base. Additionally, we worked to include authorization for a new readiness center for our Guard in Fargo.”

Hoeven worked to ensure important priorities for North Dakota in the legislation, including: 

  • A provision, cosponsored by Hoeven, to address delays and disparities in the promotions and benefits received by members of the National Guard
  • Authorization for Minot Air Force Base’s nuclear missions, including new engines for the B-52 and replacement of the Huey helicopters.
  • Strong support for unmanned aerial systems (UAS) operations.
  • Authorization for a new readiness facility in Fargo for the National Guard.
  • A 2.6 percent pay raise for all military members.

Hoeven’s National Guard Provisions

The NDAA includes provisions from the National Guard Promotion Accountability Act, bipartisan legislation Hoeven cosponsored that addresses delays in the federal recognition of promotions for National Guard members and provides compensation for raises missed during the federal waiting period.

The bill also includes provisions from the Hoeven-cosponsored National Guard and Reserves Benefits Parity Act. Specifically, this will allow National Guard members to receive a high-deployment allowance for lengthy and numerous deployments as well as frequent mobilizations. Further, the bill ensures servicemembers who also work as federal employees will not receive a reduction in their pay grade due to deployments in the uniformed services or National Guard.

Support for North Dakota’s Missions

Hoeven also worked to ensure the NDAA contains provisions and authorized funding in support of North Dakota’s missions, including:

Minot Air Force Base

  • More than $400 million for upgrades to the B-52, including the procurement of new engines.
  • $288 million to replace the UH-1N Huey helicopters that provide security for the intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) silos.
  • $66 million for a new helicopter facility at the Minot Air Force Base. The existing facilities are aging and will not accommodate the anticipated replacement of the Huey helicopters deployed at the base.
  • $700 million for the Long Range Stand Off (LRSO) missile to replace the aging Air Launched Cruise Missile carried on the B-52. 
  • A Hoeven-sponsored amendment requiring the Air Force and the National Nuclear Security Administration to submit regular reports describing progress both to develop a new nuclear cruise missile and to refurbish the nuclear cruise missile warhead. The senator’s amendment will help ensure that these efforts stay on schedule.
  • More than $550 million to sustain the existing fleet of ICBMs.
  • $414 million for the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent to replace the Minuteman III.

Grand Forks Air Force Base

  • Nearly $300 million for the Global Hawk, including the RQ-4 Global Hawk program at Grand Forks Air Force Base.
  • More than $100 million authorized for the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN). Hoeven also successfully added $100 million for BACN in the Defense Appropriations bill passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee, enough to enable the Air Force to purchase an additional Global Hawk aircraft to carry the BACN payload in support of the operations at the Grand Forks Air Force Base.

North Dakota National Guard

  • $32 million for a Readiness Center in Fargo to house, support and train three Army National Guard units – the 141st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, the 191st Military Police Company and the 112th Aviation Regiment.