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National defense bill authorizes funds for Minot AFB

This year’s National Defense Authorization bill for 2023 fully funds nuclear modernization efforts at Minot Air Force Base.

Sens. Kevin Cramer and John Hoeven announced Thursday evening the U.S. Senate had passed the James M. Imhofe National Defense Authorization Act. The bill was named in honor of Inhofe, R-Okla., to commemorate his 35 years of public service in the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.

Funding authorization for Minot AFB in the bill includes:

— Provides $3.6 billion for Sentinel (Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD)) modernization.

— Provides $735 million for B-52 commercial engine replacement program (CERP) and radar modernization.

— Provides $39 million for the Nuclear Command, Control & Communication (NC3) program, which will modernize the communications equipment used at Minot AFB

— Limits the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) count to no less than 400 total protecting our nuclear deterrent.

Directs the Secretary of the Air Force to submit a report on the feasibility of Bomber Agile Combat Employment (BACE).

The bill also rescinds the COVID vaccine mandate, preventing any further discharges based on COVID vaccine status.

Other features of the bill is it strengthens the all-volunteer force through a 4.6% pay raise, increases in impact aid and basic needs allowance thresholds, and additional funding for recruiting and retention efforts affected by inflation.

Cramer, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the bill contains funding for North Dakota’s military assets and missions in Minot, Grand Forks and Cavalier while providing support for the state’s National Guard and the entire North Dakota military community.

“It also emphasizes nuclear modernization programs and protects our strategic deterrent to keep pace with our adversaries. I’m pleased to see the final version include my amendment on contract flexibility to better allow the Pentagon to tackle rising costs in the defense supply chain,” said Cramer.

“We need to support the men and women who defend our nation, and that’s exactly what this NDAA does,” said Hoeven. “We worked to end the Defense Department’s COVID vaccine mandate as part of this legislation and to provide our troops with a pay raise. At the same time it authorizes modernization of our nuclear systems for Minot Air Force Base, the Global Hawk and satellite missions at Grand Forks, and our Guard’s Reaper mission. Now, as a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee, we’ll work to fund these vital programs.”

The FY23 NDAA – which passed through Senate Armed Services Committee overwhelmingly with a vote of 23-3 and has been conferenced with the House Armed Services Committee – is a $858 billion bill to provide for the national defense of the United States.

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