Senate Passes FY2020 NDAA with Hoeven-Sponsored Legislation to Support ICBM Modernization

Legislation Boosts Pay for Servicemembers, Supports New Engines for B-52s & Funds Global Hawk Operations

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee, today joined the Senate in passing the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020. Earlier today, Hoeven delivered remarks on the Senate floor in support of the legislation, outlining its importance to the nation and urging his colleagues to pass the bill, which:

  • Supports a 3.1 percent pay raise for members of the Armed Forces, the largest increase in nearly a decade.
  • Includes two pieces of legislation sponsored by Hoeven to support the modernization of the nation’s intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) fleet.
    • Requires the Air Force and National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to regularly report on progress in developing a new ICBM and replacing its warhead. Hoeven’s legislation will help ensure the replacement for the Minuteman III remains on schedule.
    • Supports the modernization and maintenance of the nation’s ICBM fleet, which magnifies the credibility of the entire U.S. nuclear deterrent.
  • Authorizes funding for upgrades to the B-52, including the procurement of new engines, as well as for the Global Hawk and its Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) payload.
  • Corrects a disparity in the U.S. Bankruptcy Code to protect veterans’ benefits when filing for bankruptcy, legislation which Hoeven cosponsored.
  • Includes legislation Hoeven cosponsored to help ensure the children of National Guard and Reserve members have access to additional support services in school.

“North Dakota holds a unique position in our nation’s defense, playing an essential role in our nuclear forces, which are central to our national security, while also acting as a leader in the cutting edge field of unmanned aviation,” Hoeven said. “This year’s NDAA helps provide the pay our servicemembers deserve, while also authorizing the funds they need to be successful in these vital missions. At the same time, it includes my legislation emphasizing the continued importance of the ICBMs in ensuring we have a credible nuclear deterrent. It is vital that we maintain our progress in updating the ICBM fleet, and our legislation will help do just that.”

Minot Air Force Base

In order to support the missions at the Minot Air Force Base, which is home to two legs of the nuclear triad, the FY2020 NDAA authorizes:

  • Nearly $350 million for upgrades to the B-52, including the procurement of new engines.
  • $170 million to replace the UH-1N Huey helicopters that provide security for the ICBM silos.
  • $5.5 million for the new helicopter facility at the Minot Air Force Base. The existing facilities will not accommodate the anticipated helicopter replacement. 
  • More than $700 million for the Long Range Stand Off (LRSO) missile to replace the aging Air Launched Cruise Missile carried on the B-52.
  • Nearly $900 million for the new cruise missile nuclear warhead.
  • Nearly $550 million to sustain the existing fleet of ICBMs.
  • $592 million for the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) to replace the Minuteman III.
    • Hoeven cosponsored a measure in the bill to ensure the NNSA can produce enough warheads for the new ICBMs, a delay of which would impact the progress of the GBSD program.

Missions in Grand Forks & Fargo

The legislation includes the following provisions to support the UAS missions flown by the Air Force and North Dakota Air National Guard out of Grand Forks and Fargo:

  • More than $240 million for the Global Hawk, including the RQ-4 Global Hawk program at Grand Forks Air Force Base.  
  • More than $115 million for the BACN payload flown on the Global Hawk
  • More than $900 million for MQ-9 Reapers, which are flown by the 119th Wing in Fargo and at Grand Sky UAS Research and Development Park in Grand Forks.
  • Includes Hoeven-cosponsored legislation requiring a report on China and Russia’s activities in the Arctic, helping build the case for more attention and investment by the U.S. in the Arctic region.
  • Requires a Department of Defense report on how “Northern Tier” bases, including Minot and Grand Forks, can be utilized to advance U.S. interests in the Arctic region.