Hoeven, Task Force 21 Meet With Pentagon Officials To Secure Strong Support For Minot Missions

Senator Serves on Defense Appropriations Committee, Working to Fund Upgrades for Base’s Dual Nuclear Missions

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today joined the members of Task Force 21 in outlining the importance of the missions at the Minot Air Force Base to officials at the Pentagon, including Matt Donovan, Under Secretary of the Air Force, and Lt. Gen. Jack Weinstein, Deputy Chief of Staff of Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration. Specifically, the group stressed how the missions continue to play a central role in the nation’s defense strategy, especially in light of increasing threats around the globe. Accordingly, Hoeven and the task force urged Donovan and Weinstein to continue advancing the modernization of the nuclear forces and to make key investments in infrastructure and equipment at the base. 

“We went to the Pentagon today to make the case for Minot’s missions,” said Hoeven. “This is all about securing the support of the administration and advancing the effort to upgrade our nuclear capabilities. Maintaining a credible nuclear deterrent is vital to the defense of our nation, and the servicemembers at the Minot Air Force Base deserve to have the tools they need to succeed in these critical missions.”

“Task Force 21 is glad of the great relationship Minot has with the Air Force and the constant support we receive from the North Dakota Congressional Delegation. It is truly a team effort. It is critical for us to meet with Air Force senior leaders as recapitalization of the nuclear deterrent moves ahead. We look forward to continued B-52 and ICBM missions at Minot for decades to come,” said Mark J. Jantzer, Chairman of Task Force 21 Minot.

Today’s meeting dovetails with Hoeven’s work on the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee and the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs (Milcon-VA) Appropriations Committee to secure strong support for the base’s dual nuclear missions. As part of these efforts, Defense Secretary James Mattis again affirmed to Hoeven his commitment to modernize the nuclear triad during a committee hearing last week.

The senator’s work helped result in the administration requesting a new $66 million helicopter complex for the Minot Air Force Base as part of its Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 budget proposal. The project will include a new aircraft maintenance building, aircraft shelter facilities, an alert hangar and a helicopter operations facility. The existing facility is configured only to support the UH-N1 helicopter, and the aging buildings are not adequate for the replacement helicopter fleet.

This proposal comes in addition to the priorities Hoeven secured in the FY2018 funding bill, which include:

  • $451 million for the Long Range Stand Off (LRSO) missile to replace the aging Air Launched Cruise Missile carried on the B-52.
  • $399 million to refurbish the W80-4 warhead for use on the nation’s new nuclear cruise missile.
  • $221 million for upgrades to the B-52.
  • $216 million to replace the Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM).
  • $109 million to replace the UH-1N Huey helicopters that provide security for the ICBM silos.
  • $27 million for a new indoor firing range.