Hoeven Statement on Confirmation of Mark Esper as Defense Secretary

Senator Met with Esper, Outlined Importance of Nuclear Modernization & Expanded UAS Operations, Strengthening National Guard Education Benefits

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee, today issued the following statement after the Senate confirmed Mark Esper as the Secretary of Defense. Hoeven met with Esper last week to outline the importance of North Dakota’s nuclear and unmanned aerial systems (UAS) missions to the nation’s defense, as well as the need to strengthen servicemembers’ benefits. Hoeven also invited Esper to visit North Dakota to see firsthand the importance of the state’s military missions. 

“As a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee, I’ve worked with Mark Esper and believe he has the experience and background necessary to lead our nation’s military,” said Hoeven. “Now that he has been confirmed, I look forward to working with him to support the vital military missions in North Dakota. That includes modernizing our nation’s nuclear forces, expanding our UAS capabilities and ensuring that we support our men and women in uniform.” 

During his meeting with Esper, Hoeven outlined the importance of:

  • Advancing the modernization of the country’s nuclear forces in order to maintain a credible deterrent. The senator outlined the importance of missions at Minot Air Force Base, which is home to two of the three legs of the nuclear triad.
  • Utilizing North Dakota’s expertise in UAS at Grand Forks Air Force Base and Grand Sky to bolster a variety of missions, including in the Arctic.
  • Allowing National Guard and Reserve members to concurrently use Federal Tuition Assistance and GI Bill benefits.