Senator John Hoeven issued the following statement on Friday, after Congress approved the final Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which includes important North Dakota defense policy priorities. Hoeven worked to include provisions to:
- Support service members, including authorizing a 3 percent pay raise.
- Restrict the retirement of the Global Hawk and continue to stand up the Space Force and Arctic missions important to Grand Forks Air Force Base.
- Provide continued Nuclear Modernization, including authorization for B-52 upgrades, as well as new helicopters and ICBMs at Minot Air Force Base.
“The NDAA provides important support for our men and women in uniform, including authorizing a 3 percent pay increase. At the same time, we worked to ensure that this legislation bolsters our defense missions in North Dakota,” said Hoeven. “That includes preventing the retirement of the Global Hawk, which Grand Forks Air Force Base uses to provide vital intelligence and surveillance, and ensuring the Air Force budgets for the Arctic missions. The NDAA keeps advancing nuclear modernization efforts, including important upgrades for the B-52, ICBMs and helicopters used by Minot Air Force Base. As a member of the Defense Appropriations Committee, I’ll continue working to provide the funding for these defense authorizations.”
North Dakota Priorities in the FY 2021 National Defense Authorization Act:
Unmanned Aerial Systems in Grand Forks
Hoeven worked to ensure the NDAA supports the UAS missions flown by the Air Force out of Grand Forks, including:
- Restricting the retirement of the Global Hawk. The Air Force must ensure that no intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities are compromised before being allowed to retire any Global Hawks.
- Requiring the Air Force to budget for Arctic Missions. Hoeven included a provision requiring the Air Force define how its next budget will support activities in the Arctic, to ensure the Air Force translates strategic concepts into real capabilities and prevent the U.S. from ceding this critical region to our adversaries.
- Authorizing funding for extreme cold weather research, which is conducted at UND and other universities.
Nuclear Modernization at Minot Air Force Base
The final FY2021 NDAA continues authorization for nuclear modernization efforts that support the missions at Minot Air Force Base, including:
- Authorizing upgrades to the B-52, including the new engine program.
- A new nuclear cruise missile, the Long Range Stand Off missile, to replace the Air Launched Cruise Missile carried on the B-52.
- Authorization for the new cruise missile warheads.
- $1.5 billion in funding authority for the new Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD), the replacement for the Minuteman III.
- Hoeven included an amendment to prevent delays in deploying the GBSD. All nuclear weapons must be capable of withstanding electro-magnetic pulses (EMPs). Hoeven’s amendment requires the Air Force to report on how the GBSD will be protected from EMPs to keep the replacement on schedule.
- Prohibiting the reduction of ICBMs to any lower than the currently deployed 400 missiles.
- Authorization for a replacement helicopter for the aging UH-1 helicopters that provide security for the ICBM silos.
Support for the North Dakota National Guard
The NDAA conference report also provides support for the missions of the North Dakota National Guard, including:
- Authorizing $108 million to purchase 16 new MQ-9 aircraft and prevent the premature shutdown of the production line.
- $17.5M in funding authorization for the 119th Wing’s Consolidated Remote Piloted Aircraft Operations Facility.
Additionally the NDAA authorizes operation of the radar warning system at Cavalier Air Force Station to detect and warn against a Surface-Launched Ballistic Missile attack on North America.