Hoeven Works With U.S. Air Force Assistant Secretary Yonkers to Press For ND Priorities in 2013

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven yesterday met with Terry Yonkers, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment and Logistics in preparation for the March 27 hearing of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, which will review the Air Force’s military construction budget for Fiscal Year 2013. 

The senator asked about the Air Force’s plans to select bases for the KC-46A, the new aerial refueling tanker, and encouraged Yonkers to support basing the aircraft at Grand Forks Air Force Base. Hoeven also pressed the secretary about the Global Hawk Block 40 mission, both to make sure everything is on track for Grand Forks as it stands up the new mission and to confirm that the Block 40s will remain in Grand Forks in Fiscal Year 13 and beyond. 

Hoeven also emphasized the need for a $4.6 million upgrade project at Minot Air Force Base to expand an Air Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM) maintenance facility. The current undersized facility is used to repair and maintain trailers that haul ALCMs to the B-52 bombers. 

“With their bomber, nuclear missile and unmanned aerial systems missions, both bases provide critical support to the nation’s national security infrastructure,” Hoeven said. “At the same time, they are key economic assets in their communities. Last year, the Minot base alone had a nearly $500 million impact on the area’s economy.” 

Hoeven also proposed establishing a new Distributed Common Ground Station (DCGS), which processes the data from the Air Force’s unmanned fleets, and made the case for co-locating a DCGS facility in Grand Forks alongside the Global Hawk Block 40 operators.  

Secretary Yonkers traveled to Grand Forks and Minot AFB last year and is familiar with both installations.