U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND), a Senate Armed Services Committee member, issued the following statement after the Senate passed this year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA):

“As it has every year for the last 60 years, Congress passed legislation today to fulfill our most foundational obligation of providing for the defense of our nation. This year’s National Defense Authorization Act strengthens our military, supports our troops, enhances national security, and contains several North Dakota priorities. I am honored to have helped write this legislation and grateful we were able to pass it with overwhelming support. President Trump should expand his incredible success in rebuilding our military and sign it without reservation.” 

Topline Information

Senator Cramer helped write this year’s NDAA through his seat on the Senate Armed Services Committee. After both chambers of Congress passed their versions of the bill earlier this year, they formed a Conference Committee which crafted the bipartisan version passed by the Senate today and by the House of Representatives earlier this week. If it becomes law, this legislation: 

  • Provides a total of $740.5 billion in funding to fulfill the requirements of the President’s National Defense Strategy. 
  • Supports our troops with the requested 3 percent pay raise — the second straight year of a pay raise above 3 percent. 
  • Positions the United States to best defend our interests in the Indo-Pacific and deter Chinese military and economic aggression by establishing and resourcing the Pacific Deterrence Initiative. 
  • Accelerates innovation by focusing investments on key capabilities and technologies that will put us safely ahead of our strategic competitors, including artificial intelligence, hypersonic weapons, cybersecurity, and biotechnologies. 
  • Continues President Trump’s historic efforts to rebuild our military superiority by investing in the next generation of ships, planes, tanks, and weapons. 
  • Improves the lives and livelihoods of military families by helping military spouses find and keep good jobs, guaranteeing access to quality, flexible child care and education, and ensuring families are living in healthy, safe housing. 
  • Makes the Pentagon more transparent and accountable to the American people by modernizing reporting requirements and improving the budget request materials. 
  • Supports President Trump’s top priority of modernizing and sustaining our nuclear triad to serve as a strong deterrent to potential adversaries. 
  • Secures and strengthens America’s national defense supply chain and reduces overreliance on foreign adversaries like China, including for high-priority items like microelectronics, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices. 
  • Protects our troops and supports military readiness by ensuring our troops have adequate diagnostic equipment, testing capabilities, and PPE, and supporting the whole-of-government response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

North Dakota Priorities

Under Senator Cramer’s leadership, who is the first ever North Dakotan to serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee, this year’s NDAA includes several priorities for North Dakota’s military community. Specifically, this legislation:

Minot

  • Continues to prioritize a defense modernization strategy which includes fully funding the B-52 program and almost $1.5B for the Minuteman III replacement.
  • Includes language prohibiting the drawdown or reduction of ICBMs to any lower than 400.
  • Directs the Air Force Secretary, in consultation with the Commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, to provide a report on the transition from the Minuteman III to the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent.
  • Ensures a constantly vigilant strategic deterrent to keep U.S. nuclear deterrent credible and modernized for decades.
  • Funds the MH-139 Gray Wolf helicopter as a replacement for the aging UH-1 helicopters at Minot.
  • Funds $66M in military construction for a consolidated airfield operations building at Minot Air Force Base.

Grand Forks

  • Limits the retirement of any RQ-4 Global Hawk aircraft until the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff certifies that Combatant Commands will not lose ISR capability or capacity.
  • Encourages expeditiously building of Space Force with focus on minimizing bureaucratic structures to allow for innovative solutions.
  • Directs Space Force to continue working with research institutions, like the University of North Dakota (UND), in areas like autonomous platforms and policy, supply chains, and cybersecurity.
  • Funds $3M for extreme cold weather research performed by several universities including UND.

Fargo

  • Provides $32M in military construction for the Army National Guard Readiness Center in Fargo.
  • Authorizes $17.5M for a Consolidated Remote Piloted Aircraft Operations Facility for the 119th Wing.
  • Prevents the premature shutdown of the MQ-9 production line by putting funding to purchase 16 new aircraft.

Cavalier

  • Funds operations of the Perimeter Acquisition Radar Attack Characterization System (PARCS), a part of the Radar Warning System designed to detect and provide warning in the case of a Surface-Launched Ballistic Missile attack against North America at Cavalier Air Space Station.