Hoeven: We Need to Support Our Airmen, Maintain a Credible Nuclear Deterrent

Hoeven, Task Force 21 Discuss MAFB Priorities With Pentagon Officials

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today joined Task Force 21 in a meeting at the Pentagon with Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force (USAF) Gen. Larry Spencer, Deputy of Nuclear Planning, Policy and Strategy Michael Shoults and Chief of the USAF Facility Management Division Robert Gill to discuss the priorities and concerns of the Minot Air Force Base (MAFB) and the Minot community.

Hoeven emphasized the importance of modernizing the B-52 and Air Launched Cruise Missiles (ALCM), providing competitive civilian pay on the base in order to sustain a highly skilled civilian workforce and the importance of making sound fiscal decisions in light of recent budget constraints. Other topics included the implementation of New START and the new structure of the nation’s nuclear force, the Minuteman II replacement program and construction projects at MAFB.

“We are all very proud, not only of our service men and women at MAFB, who serve skillfully and professionally, but also of the community that has been so supportive over the years,” Hoeven said. “We are going to keep working in Washington to ensure that our airmen have the resources and support they need to carry out their missions, which are of vital importance to our national security and maintaining a credible nuclear deterrent.”

Today’s trip to the Pentagon follows a meeting Hoeven held last week with Maj. Gen. Jack Weinstein, Commander, 20th Air Force, Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC). The senator asked the general for an update on issues facing our nuclear force as well as specific issues facing MAFB.

As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Senate ICBM Coalition, Hoeven authored a provision in the fiscal year (FY)2014 Omnibus Appropriations bill that explicitly blocks the administration from reducing the number of active silos containing Minuteman III ICBMs, all of which are located at bases in North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming.

This legislation also included more than $30 million in funding for three construction and maintenance projects at MAFB:

  • B-52 Aircraft Maintenance Facility – $15.5 million. Funding will be used to construct an aircraft maintenance facility to house additional maintenance personnel and equipment associated with the second B-52 squadron.
  • B-52 Munitions Storage Igloos – $8.3 million. This project funds four munitions storage igloos to hold additional conventional munitions in support of the second B-52 squadron.
  • Fuel Pipeline Replacement – $6.4 million. This funding will replace an aging fuel pipeline that supports aircraft operations on the base.

The senator is continuing his efforts to secure funds and bill language that support America’s nuclear deterrent and the missions at MAFB as the committee prepares the appropriations bills for FY2015.