Hoeven Statement on Vote to Approve NDAA in Support of Servicemembers, North Dakota Missions

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today issued the following statement after voting to approve the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), ensuring servicemembers will receive the pay and benefits they have earned and supporting critical missions in North Dakota. The legislation has now received the two-thirds majority needed in both chambers of Congress and will enter into law. Hoeven worked to include provisions to: 

  • Support servicemembers, including authorizing a 3 percent pay raise.
  • Restrict the retirement of the Global Hawk and continue to stand up the Space Force and Arctic missions important to Grand Forks Air Force Base.
  • Provide continued Nuclear Modernization, includingauthorization 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, including a 3 percent pay raise, while also continuing the modernization of the dual nuclear missions in Minot and strengthening the UAS missions in Grand Forks and Fargo,” Hoeven said. “We agree with the president that Section 230 needs to be addressed and will work with our colleagues to make needed reforms. At the same time, we approved the NDAA again to ensure that our military has the support it needs, just as has been done every year for the last 59 years.”

North Dakota Priorities in the FY2021 National Defense Authorization Act 

Unmanned Aerial Systems in Grand Forks

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

  • Restricting the retirement of the Global Hawk. The Air Force must ensure 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 definehow 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.
  • Authorizing funding for extreme cold weather research, which is conducted at UND and other universities.

Nuclear Modernization at Minot Air Force Base

The final 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 conference report also provides support for the missions of the North Dakota National Guard, including:

  • Authorizing $108 million to purchase 16 new MQ-9 aircraft and prevent 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.