GRAND FORKS – U.S. Senators Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and John Hoeven (R-ND) joined Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Brown, Jr. at the Grand Forks Air Base (GFAFB) and the Grand Sky Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Research and Development Park for a classified briefing and tour today.

“Advanced technology, Artificial Intelligence, and Unmanned Aerial Systems are the future of Air Force missions, and as this visit to Grand Forks by yet another senior military leader demonstrates, North Dakota is well-positioned to lead the way,” said Senator Cramer, a Senate Armed Services Committee member. “I’m glad General Brown accepted our invitation to visit the state and gave our leaders a chance to showcase Grand Forks’ great potential. I look forward to following up with him on what we saw today as we work to support and strengthen the state’s Air Force installations.”

“The Grand Forks Air Force Base is critical to the Air Force’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance efforts, helping to keep our servicemembers better informed in a wide variety of situations around the globe,” said Senator Hoeven, a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee. “That’s why we worked to make Grand Forks the lead for all Global Hawk operations, strengthen this aircraft’s capabilities and prevent its retirement. General Brown’s visit was an important opportunity to help ensure the Air Force commanders understand the important role that the Global Hawk can fulfill in both current and future Air Force missions, as well as the unique UAS environment that we’ve built in this region to maximize the potential of this technology.”

The senators highlighted the unique relationship between the base and Grand Sky to Gen. Brown, as well as partnerships with the Northern Plains UAS Test Site, the University of North Dakota and NASA, which offer an opportunity to better leverage this technology in securing the nation. The senators also briefed and gathered input from Grand Forks Mayor Brandon Bochenski and the Grand Forks Base Mission Support Committee.

Senator Cramer invited the General, who was confirmed last summer, to North Dakota when they spoke during his confirmation hearing in May about the Arctic Mission and the importance of Northern Tier bases General Brown previously served as the Commander of Pacific Air Forces, where he oversaw Minot’s B-52 fleet when it was stationed in Guam. Click here to watch.