Hoeven Working to Ensure Nation's Nuclear Deterrent, Support MAFB Missions

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven this week met with Maj. Gen. Jack Weinstein, Commander, 20th Air Force, Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) to discuss the future of America’s intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) force. Hoeven asked the general for an update on ICBM modernization efforts, the implementation of New START and the new structure of the nation’s nuclear force, as well as specific issues facing Minot Air Force Base (MAFB).

“The men and women at Minot Air Force Base are performing a critical mission with distinction,” Hoeven said. “We continue working with General Weinstein and other Air Force leaders to ensure our airmen have the support they need to maintain our nuclear deterrent during a time of great uncertainty around the world.”

Hoeven and Weinstein talked about the need to make upgrades to the Minuteman III missile, upgrade the infrastructure at Minot Air Force Base and ensure the safety of airmen working throughout the ICBM fields that span much of northwestern North Dakota. Hoeven also identified the need to ensure pay for civilians at Minot Air Force Base remains competitive with private sector wages in order to preserve a highly skilled civilian workforce at the base.

Hoeven continues fighting to maintain a strong ICBM force at MAFB and throughout the country, both by working with Air Force officials, such as Maj. Gen. Weinstein and Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James, who Hoeven spoke with earlier this year, but also through legislation.

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.