Grand Forks Herald: North Dakota congressional delegation offers accolades for Grand Forks Air Force Base redesignation

July 1, 2019
In The News

One day before the redesignation ceremony at Grand Forks Air Force Base, the U.S. Senate approved the National Defense Authorization Act, which provides an additional $25 million in funding for RQ-4 Global Hawks, integral to operations in North Dakota.

"(The legislation) bolsters our nuclear triad, improves the livelihood of our all-volunteer military force, establishes the United States Space Force and reflects the priorities of North Dakota," said Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D. "Congress now moves one step closer to fulfilling its obligation to provide for the common defense of our nation. Now, the House must act.”

Cramer offered congratulations to those in Grand Forks, whom he called the "Global Hawk Community."

“This redesignation by the Air Force is the right one, and I offer my congratulations to everyone who made it happen .... Command and control of Global Hawk operations around the world will be directed by the 319th to support our combatant commanders," he said.

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., offered celebratory words in support of the redesignation.

“The Grand Forks Air Force Base will now be the lead base for the U.S. Air Force Global Hawk operations," he said. "After we initially brought the Global Hawk to Grand Forks, we worked hard to preserve this mission. Our efforts include passing legislation to prevent the retirement of the Global Hawk, which gave our airmen a chance to prove its potential, as well as making investments through annual appropriations bills to upgrade its capabilities."

Rep. Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., said the Grand Forks Air Base and its community are ascending to the top levels of national security.

“Grand Forks Air Force Base and its talented, hard-working airmen play a pivotal role in national security and defense. With the re-designation of the 319th Air Base Wing as the 319th Reconnaissance Wing, Grand Forks Air Force Base is leading the nation in Global Hawk operations, projecting power and collecting intelligence around the globe," he said.

"Between this mission and the private sector’s research and development, Grand Forks is now a hub for the unmanned aerial systems industry, further cementing North Dakota’s role in the future of the U.S. Air Force," Armstrong said.