Senator Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) on Thursday toured Camp Grafton and received a brief on their partnership with U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) to test a long-range radar.
“I look to connect with our National Guard as often as I can,” said Senator Cramer, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC). “Thursday, I received an update on the Over the Horizon Radar testing from officials on the ground and North Dakota military leaders.”
The Senator’s visit comes as the North Dakota National Guard continues its partnership, announced in June, to test this radar with USNORTHCOM and other agencies. The military hopes to use this radar, commonly referred to as the Arctic “Over the Horizon Radar,” to detect small, fast moving items such as aircraft, cruise missiles, hypersonic glide vehicles, ballistic missiles, and UAS threats. Testing began when the partnership was announced and will continue through the end of the month.
This partnership “paves the way for testing and research on this critical radar system,” Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann- the Adjutant General (TAG) who attended this briefing- said at the time the partnership was announced. Dohrmann was joined on Thursday’s tour by leaders in North Dakota’s military community, including Lee Nordin, Maj. Sheldon, Lt. Col. Mark Topp, Col. Ray Ripplinger, and Maj. Chance Schaffner, as well as representatives from USNORTHCOM and the Air Force Research Lab.
These efforts continue as foreign adversaries such as China and Russia show increasing interest in the Arctic, and United States military leaders look at innovative solutions to combat them. For his part, Senator Cramer included language in the Senate-passed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that requires the Department of Defense to learn how to better utilize northern tier bases for the Arctic Mission.
“I often stress to leaders in the Pentagon and across our military community how North Dakota is strategically important to our nation’s Arctic security,” Senator Cramer said. “Our geographic location makes us ideal for protecting against foreign adversaries who see the Arctic as a way to weaken our national defense.”
Following this briefing, Senator Cramer and these military leaders toured the Camp Grafton Training Center- operated by the North Dakota National Guard- and the 164th Regional Training Institute, the engineer subject matter expert for the National Guard providing nationwide assistance to help build and sustain national readiness.