MINOT, ND – U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer, a Senate Armed Services Committee member, stressed the importance of North Dakota’s military community and highlighted its capabilities to Defense Secretary Mark Esper today as they toured 91st Missile Wing and the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot Air Force Base together.

“The world is a safer place because of the work being done by the military members in North Dakota every day,” said Senator Cramer. “It is important we provide them with the tools they need and put them in a position to succeed, both now and in the future.”

As they visited the 91st Missile Wing, the Senator emphasized the importance of nuclear modernization when it comes to the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD), which is scheduled to replace the Minutemen III housed there. He also emphasized the overdue need to replace the Vietnam-era Huey helicopters which patrol the missile fields across North Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana. 

"The Air Force should make sure we keep GBSD on schedule, if not faster, if responsibly possible,” said Senator Cramer. “The Huey’s mission is critical to the protection and success of the missile wing, yet the age of these helicopters inhibits their success. I appreciate the progress we are making and look forward to their successful replacement.”

At the 5th Bomb Wing, the Senator and Secretary discussed the B-52 modernization efforts.

“The B-52 has served our nation longer than I’ve been alive, and it continues to do so today,” said Senator Cramer. “It’s encouraging to see the Secretary reiterate the importance of this aircraft and the effort to update its engines.”

Throughout their conversations, Senator Cramer reiterated his firm support for the Global Hawk mission in Grand Forks, the Air Space Station in Cavalier, and the National Guard units in Bismarck and Fargo. The Senator also highlighted the ways North Dakota can assist in developing the newly established Space Force.

“Today’s visit highlighted the significance of North Dakota’s contribution to our national security and the great potential we have for the enduring missions of the future,” concluded Senator Cramer.

The day’s events ended with a family town hall with the Airmen stationed in Minot.