Senator John Hoeven today issued the following statement, marking Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ visit to the Minot Air Force Base. In July, Hoeven extended an invitation to Mattis to visit the state and drove home North Dakota’s vital contributions to the nation’s defense, specifically highlighting the state’s nuclear and unmanned aerial systems (UAS) missions.
“Minot Air Force Base is crucial in deterring aggression against the United States, and I’m pleased that Secretary Mattis will have an opportunity to see firsthand the extraordinary work our airmen do to maintain our nuclear deterrent as well as the need to replace our nuclear cruise missiles, modernize the B-52 and develop a new ICBM,” Hoeven said. “Secretary Mattis’ visit to Minot and his review of its nuclear missions dovetails with our work to counter rogue nations, like North Korea. The sanctions Congress passed this summer are an important part of our strategy, and we continue working to further restrain the North Korean regime and advance modern nuclear defenses for our nation.”
Hoeven voted with a bipartisan majority in July to strengthen sanctions against North Korea. The senator also called on the U.S. to pressure China to reign in North Korea following the country’s successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile.
As a member of the Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Committee and Energy Appropriations Committee, Hoeven is working to modernize the nation’s nuclear arsenal and provide for stronger security at the Minor Air Force Base. Hoeven recently secured $27 million in the Senate’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 funding legislation for an indoor firing range at the Minot Air Force Base. The senator also successfully included the following provisions in the appropriations bill for FY17, which was passed by Congress in May:
$732 million for intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBMs), including $113 million for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent program to replace the aging Minuteman III ICBM.
$220 million for B-52s and $95 million for the Long Range Stand Off (LRSO) missile to replace the aging Air Launched Cruise Missile carried on the B-52.
$93 million to replace the fleet of UH-1N helicopters used to secure the ICBM fields around Minot Air Force Base. Hoeven joined a bipartisan group of senator’s earlier this year in urging Secretary Mattis to replace the aging helicopters.