Hoeven: U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee Supports Crucial Funding for Department of Defense

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, who serves on the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced that members have approved crucial funding for the Department of Defense in 2012 to help to upgrade and modernize the nation’s military capabilities. The appropriation will help enhance operations and equipment at the Minot and Grand Forks Air Force bases. 

“It’s vital that we continue to maintain a strong military and a credible deterrence against foreign aggression, and the funding we approved today ensures that we have a modern, up-to-date force to do that,” Hoeven said. 

Appropriators provided more than $500 million for Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) procurement, research and development. That includes funding for modification to the Minuteman III, missile replacement equipment, and other technical upgrades to the strategic nuclear force, as well as funding for missile engineering and manufacturing development. 

In addition, the committee approved $88 million to modify the B-52 bomber aircraft fleet, including the beginning of a program to enable the aircraft to carry smart weapons internally in its bomb bay, rather than on the wing, resulting in greater fuel efficiency and range.  Nearly $18 million was appropriated for the B-52 combat network communications technology (CONECT) program, which will improve the B-52 bomber’s ability to communicate with other aircraft and may allow it to make better use of advanced weapons systems. Minot Air Force Base is home to both ICB and B-52 missions. 

The defense appropriation also provides $778.9 million to fully fund the Administration’s request for the Global Hawk Reconnaissance aircraft, including the procurement of three additional aircraft and research and development. Grand Forks Air Force Base received the first of its Global Hawk in June as part of the base’s new unmanned aerial systems mission.  In July, the Air Force activated a new unit at the base to operate and maintain the Global Hawk missions.