Senator Cramer Secures a Host of North Dakota Military Priorities in the Annual National Defense Bill

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) issued the following statement today after he and his Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) colleagues voted to advance the Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) out of committee last night:

"Providing for the defense of our nation is the top priority of the federal government, and the National Defense Authorization Act is an annual opportunity for Congress to help fulfill that obligation. While no comprehensive bill is ever perfect, our legislation provides critical support for the members of our armed forces and ensures we keep pace with our adversaries so America remains safe and free. I thank Chairman Reed and Ranking Member Inhofe for their leadership, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to advance our bill through the full Senate and ultimately send it to the President’s desk.”

SASC Ranking Member, Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), issued a statement  applauding Senator Cramer for his work on this year’s NDAA.

“Senator Cramer is a staunch advocate for our service members and their families and fights every day to better protect American families in North Dakota and around the world,” said Ranking Member Inhofe. “He has an especially key role this year as the top Republican on the Seapower Subcommittee, where he ensured our Navy has the size, relevance, and capabilities to deter adversaries like China and Russia in any theater. His other provisions will champion U.S. leadership in space and artificial intelligence and maintain our nuclear deterrent as the cornerstone of national security, and I’m grateful for his service.”

FY22 NDAA Topline Provisions

The FY22 NDAA – which passed through SASC overwhelmingly on a vote of 23-3 and now awaits action from the full Senate – is a $777.9 billion bill to provide for the national defense of the United States. Specifically, this NDAA:
  • Increases funding for national defense: provides $25 billion above President Biden’s request, matching the National Defense Strategy Commission minimum recommendation of 3 percent real growth and bringing the total funding authorized for the Department of Defense (DoD) and nuclear weapons activities to a total of $777.9 billion.
  • Takes care of our troops: Ensures troops receive a 2.7 percent pay raise; makes improvements to military health care; continues efforts to guarantee military spouses have access to employment; provides service members with dedicated bereavement leave; includes numerous provisions to vest in military special victim prosecutors the authority to refer certain cases to trial by court-martial, an effort aligning with a bill Senator Cramer cosponsored; and ensures military families have access to high-quality housing.
  • Enhances our nuclear deterrent: Fully funds needed investments in nuclear modernization and maintenance of National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) facilities to keep our stockpiles safe; reiterates bipartisan support for our nuclear forces, the cornerstone of our national defense; emphasizes the importance of the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent; and addresses the Nuclear Posture Review.
  • Pushes back on China: Increases resources for the new Pacific Deterrence Initiative by $1 billion; hardens our defense industrial base and supply chain against threats posed by China; addresses threats posed by the information warfare space and deters foreign malign influence; enhances the Indo-Pacific Maritime Security Initiative; focuses attention on Taiwan defense cooperation including asymmetric military capabilities; requires assessment of current and emerging offensive capabilities of China and other adversaries and disclosures of any printed circuit boards sourced from China; accelerates research and development of as well as comparative analysis of key modernization technologies at the heart of strategic competition with China.
  • Stands strong against Russia: Continues to limit military cooperation between the U.S. and Russia, rejects Russian aggression, authorizes an increase of $50 million for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, and supports other key alliances like NATO and our partners in the region that are most threatened by Putin’s menacing actions.
  • Rejects the worst partisan progressive provisions: Ensures DoD focuses on fighting real threats from foreign external adversaries, not culture wars; requires military contractors to disclose any training related to critical race theory; and protects long-standing provisions on GITMO.
  • Maintains America’s military supremacy across all domains: Ensures the Armed Forces is able to continue building its fleets to the sizes our commanders need, including adding more than $2.5 billion for shipbuilding, with funding for an additional destroyer; focuses on next-generation procurement; maintains enduring capabilities; and provides the largest investment in military construction in a decade—$12.735 billion—nearly $2.9 billion more than the President requested. 
  • Bolsters our allies and partners: Provides key support for Taiwan, Ukraine, Israel, Afghan civilians and translators who supported U.S. counterterrorism efforts, and other critical partners that advance shared security objectives; includes hundreds of millions of dollars for exercises and interoperability with allies and partners—investments neglected in the Biden Administration’s budget.
  • Accelerates innovation: Invests in defense technology that will put us ahead of our competitors, including microelectronics, artificial intelligence, 5G, hypersonic weapons, and directed energy; provides tailored acquisition authorities focused on transitioning technologies faster.
  • Prioritizes cybersecurity: Fully funds CYBERCOM (including the CYBERCOM unfunded priorities list) and protects against persistent cyberattacks by assessing and strengthening both offensive and defensive capabilities.
  • Supports the People of Afghanistan: Continues support for the Government of Afghanistan and Afghan National Forces after President Biden’s withdrawal; authorizes DoD to transport Afghan special immigrant visa (SIV) candidates and other threatened Afghan partners outside of Afghanistan for visa processing; emphasizes SASC’s strong support for the SIV program; ensures Congress receives quarterly briefings on Afghanistan situation from DoD’s top policy official.

As the Ranking Member of the SASC Seapower Subcommittee, Senator Cramer was able to help secure additional support for America’s naval fleet. He also led a successful effort to block an amendment offered by Democrats which would have discouraged talented individuals from serving in the military by prohibiting them from using their expertise and limiting their career choices in the private sector after they have served.

North Dakota Projects and Priorities

As the first-ever North Dakotan to serve on an Armed Services committee in Congress, Senator Cramer has used his seat on SASC to secure funding authorization and language for missions both directly and indirectly benefiting North Dakota’s military community. This year’s bill fully funds nuclear modernization efforts, supports efforts to develop increased intelligence capabilities, grows the Space Force, and authorizes a litany of North Dakota-specific military projects. Specifically, the language Senator Cramer was able to successfully include in this year’s NDAA:

Advancing Nuclear Modernization at Minot Air Force Base (AFB)
  • Provides $2.6 billion for the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD), the scheduled replacement for the Minutemen III Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), and prohibits FY22 NDAA funds from being used to diminish the use or availability of ICBMs like those housed at Minot.
    • Since becoming a member of SASC, Senator Cramer has been a vocal supporter of the nation’s nuclear triad and has pushed military leaders at the highest levels to keep the GBSD timeline on track. Watch a recent hearing here.
  • Provides $716 million for the B-52 Bomber program – along with $609 million for the Long Range Stand Off (LRSO) weapon – flown and operated at Minot.
    • In April, Senator Cramer spoke with the Commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, Admiral Charles Richard, about the problems for the B-52 that would be caused by a delay to the LSRO weapon. Learn more here.
  • Provides $436 million for the Nuclear Command, Control & Communication (NC3) program, which will modernize the communications equipment used at Minot.

Supporting Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) at Grand Forks AFB
·         Fully funds the RQ-4 Block 40 Global Hawks housed at and operated from Grand Forks.
·         Authorizes an additional $5 million for creating a framework for an Expeditionary Mission Support Station (EMSS) which will allow missions to better utilize ISR capabilities.
·         Requires DoD to modernize the way it categorizes unmanned aerial systems (UAS) efforts, and to procure commercial remote sensing technologies and services able to collect information through cloud cover.
·         Requires the Air Force and the Navy to submit a joint report to Congress on using Agile Combat Employment (ACE) exercises at eligible bases such as Grand Forks AFB.

Growing the United States Space Force (USSF)
  • Authorizes $8 million for rapid prototyping of space-capable laser communication technology for the Space Development Agency (SDA), and protects the acquisition authorities of the SDA while it becomes part of the USSF.
  • Directs the USSF Chief Technology and Innovation Officer, along with the Commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center, to provide their plan for how to better leverage modern cloud computing technologies for space programs.
  • Requires DoD to detail its plan to Congress on how it will position the United States to be able to rapidly respond to threats in space with a tactically responsive space launch capability.
  • Urges DoD to implement a mechanism to streamline space acquisition efforts across DoD.

Authorizing Key North Dakota Military Projects
  • Authorizes $100 million for the Air Force to acquire additional MQ-9 Reapers as flown by the 119th Wing in the North Dakota Air National Guard based in Fargo.
  • Provides $24 million for an Energy Resilience and Conservation Investment Program (ERCIP) project and $1.5 million for a new microwave link to improve communications at the Cavalier Air Force Station (AFS).
  • Grants $15.5 million to construct a National Guard Readiness Center in Dickinson to provide training, administrative, automation and communications, and logistical requirements for the North Dakota Air National Guard.
  • Provides $25 million in funding for Over The Horizon Radar (OTHR), which follows the completion of an OTHR testing by Northern Command (NORTHCOM), Northern Aerospace Defense (NORAD), and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) at Camp Grafton, the North Dakota National Guard training center.
    • Senator Cramer received a briefing on OTHR efforts at Camp Grafton in 2019 and has since spoken with military officials about those efforts in multiple SASC hearings. Learn more here.
  • Authorizes $8 million for incorporating the Ballistic Protection System (BPS) advanced technology developed by Jamestown’s Collins Aerospace which increases the CH-47 mission range and payload.
  • Urges DoD to include key materials like plasmid DNA and mRNA, which are manufactured by Fargo’s Aldevron, in the National Defense Stockpile to decrease foreign dependence and increase domestic readiness in the event of a public health crisis.
  • Recommends DoD conduct the necessary pre-clinical testing and clinical trials of intranasal ketamine.
This is the third NDAA Senator Cramer has helped craft as a member of SASC. In 2019, he was able to shepherd through the creation of the USSF, and in 2020, the senator was able to secure a host of pro-North Dakota provisions in the legislation.