Hoeven: Vice President's Visit Highlights MAFB Importance as Only Dual Nuclear Mission Base in America

Minot Airmen Routinely Flying B-52s out of Guam to Deter North Korean Aggression

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and co-chair of the Senate Air Force Caucus, today joined Vice President Mike Pence and Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson in reviewing the dual-nuclear missions of the Minot Air Force Base. The Vice President’s visit served as an opportunity to highlight the central role of the nation’s nuclear triad in deterring North Korean aggression and other threats around the globe and to advance the priorities of the air base. Pence toured both the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) silos and the B-52 hangars and received a briefing from the base’s commanders. Hoeven stressed the need to continue updating the nuclear forces with modern capabilities that will ensure they act as an effective and credible deterrent.

“Our men and women at the Minot Air Force Base provide a critical service in defense of our nation, including regularly flying B-52s out of Guam to deter North Korean aggression,” Hoeven said. “Over the past several years, we have made important investments in their missions, but the effort to update our B-52s, nuclear cruise missiles and ICBMs is still ongoing. We must continue to provide our servicemembers the tools they need to succeed. That means ensuring our nuclear forces are equipped with modern technology and serve as a credible deterrent to our adversaries. The Vice President’s visit and briefing today drove this point home and allowed him to see the good work of our airmen firsthand.”

Hoeven has worked throughout his tenure to ensure the Minot airmen have the tools they needs to be successful in their missions. As part of these ongoing efforts, Hoeven helped secure the following provisions in the Senate’s recently-passed FY18 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA):

  • $617 million authorized to sustain the existing fleet of ICBMs and $215.7 million for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent program to develop a replacement for the existing Minuteman III.
  • $221.4 million authorized for upgrades to the B-52 and $451 million for the Long Range Stand Off (LRSO) missile to replace the aging Air Launched Cruise Missile carried on the B-52.
  • $108.6 million authorized for the Air Force to replace the UH-1N Huey helicopter that provides security for the ICBMs located around Minot Air Force Base. 

In addition, both Secretary Wilson and Defense Secretary James Mattis visited the Minot Air Force Base last month, following invitations from Hoeven. The senator stressed the importance of these officials seeing the work of the base’s airmen firsthand as they work to ensure the nation has a credible nuclear force to deter aggression against the U.S. and counter rogue nations, like North Korea. Hoeven built on these visits by calling upon General Robin Rand, the Commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, to support the nuclear missions at the base.

The visits come as part of Hoeven’s ongoing efforts to modernize the nation’s nuclear arsenal and provide for stronger security at the Minor Air Force Base. Hoeven recently secured $27 million in the Senate’s Fiscal Year FY18 funding legislation for an indoor firing range at the Minot Air Force Base. The senator continues working to ensure strong support for the Minot Air Force Base in the final appropriations measure.