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WASHINGTON – At a Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats hearing this week, U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) pushed military leaders to recognize the capabilities and opportunities found in states in Middle America like North Dakota which have invested in making their states available to help meet the military’s technology needs.

“In the middle of the country, there are a lot of smart people in K-12 as well as our universities. I think North Dakota is a good example of that,” said Senator Cramer. “We have great relationships between our bases and our universities. We have great relationships between our industry partners, the tech parks, and our bases, like Grand Forks. … We also have a very good state government that is cooperative and collaborative and really eager. They’ve done amazing work making North Dakota the #1 rated UAS ready state. We have the middle of America that needs to understand their investments into future technology, and that understanding doesn’t materialize when all the tech efforts take place on the coasts. So what is the best way to get the military to utilize the great tech environment we’ve built up in the middle of the country, specifically in North Dakota?”

“In this current environment with Zoom and Teams, we can now reach so many more people, so we can use that format to reach into communities we have not traditionally reached into,” said Rear Admiral Selby, U.S. Navy Chief of Naval Research. “Even when we can travel, I think we should do hybrid events to try to bring in as many people as we can. … A lot of times we get locally centric around our bases, but we need to expand that. We need all hands on deck.”  

“We have modeled some new regional hubs based on what the Army has done with their regions, and we are establishing them in regions where we haven’t traditionally been focused. The Midwest is one of them, as well as the Northeast. I think that will increase the attention to those areas,” said Brigadier General Heather Pringle, Commander of the Air Force Research Laboratory.

General Pringle is the sister of Colonel Cameron Pringle, the Commander of the 319th Reconnaissance Wing at the Grand Forks Air Force Base. The senator concluded his remarks by inviting the officials to North Dakota.

“I would love to invite you to Grand Forks and the University of North Dakota,” said Senator Cramer.

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