Hoeven Statement on Confirmation of Ashton Carter to be the Next Defense Secretary

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today released the following statement after the Senate confirmed Ashton Carter to serve as Secretary of the Department of Defense. Hoeven met with Carter earlier this week to discuss defense priorities for the nation and North Dakota.

“Dr. Carter and I met Tuesday to discuss the critical defense issues facing our nation, including the need for the Administration to present a clear strategy for dealing with ISIS that can succeed. We also discussed the importance of maintaining and modernizing our nuclear deterrent and keeping our advantage in technologies like the Global Hawk. We need to ensure that our men and women in uniform, who do a tremendous job protecting our nation, have the tools and support they need to complete their missions. I look forward to working with Secretary Carter to ensure that our nation is kept safe and strong,” said Hoeven.  

At the meeting with Carter, Hoeven stressed the importance of the Nuclear Force Improvement Program (NFIP), a program the senator worked to promote and support with the former Defense Secretary that is designed to strengthen the nuclear enterprise by increasing personnel assigned to the nuclear mission and improving their career paths, upgrading outdated equipment and modernizing aging facilities. Hoeven also discussed the importance of upgrades to the B-52 bomber, the eventual replacement of the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and the need to develop a replacement for the air-launched cruise missile carried on the B-52. Minot Air Force Base hosts both ICBMs and nuclear bombers, making it the only location in the country to host two legs of the U.S. nuclear triad which also includes submarine launched ballistic missiles.

The senator also urged Dr. Carter to pursue advanced technology like the Global Hawk to ensure America maintains its edge in military technology. Grand Forks Air Force Base hosts the Block 40 variant of the RQ-4 Global Hawk. Hoeven also pressed the strategic advantages of assigning a role for the Grand Forks Air Force Base in a new Arctic mission the Air Force is considering.