WASHINGTON – At a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing today, U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) expressed concerns to the U.S. Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S. Army General Mark Milley, about President Biden’s proposed military budget and the affect it will have on Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities. North Dakota is home to ISR platforms such as the RQ-4 Global Hawk in Grand Forks and the MQ-9 Reaper in Fargo.
“The [Global Hawk] Block 30s are slated for retirement in this budget,” said Senator Cramer. “I’m concerned about the lack of a bridge between where we are today and where we’re going to get to eventually with new systems. We have tough choices and we’ve heard all about the difficult priorities you have to set, but I remain concerned about the retirement of the Block 30s prematurely.”
In light of these proposed cuts, Senator Cramer asked General Milley if our Combatant Commanders across the globe have their ISR needs sufficiently met.
“Are the Combatant Commanders getting all of the ISR support that they need?” asked Senator Cramer.
“As Chief of Staff of the Army for four years and Chairman for almost two, no Combatant Commander has ever gotten all the ISR they want,” said General Milley. “It is one of those commodities that is in high demand and no one is ever completely satisfied. Every commander wants perfect knowledge, and that’s what ISR does.”