NASA Administrator Bridenstine Visits UND
Last week, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Administrator Jim Bridenstine came to Grand Forks to tour the University of North Dakota's Space Program.
It was an honor to host Jim during his visit North Dakota. He and I are longtime friends who served in the House together, and I am grateful for his time and for the opportunity to introduce him to UND aerospace students.
We began the day meeting with leaders of UND’s aerospace program to discuss their partnership with NASA. UND is one of the few universities in the world to offer human spaceflight training and is the first university to operate a NASA-funded laboratory dedicated to designing and constructing space-exploration and planetary surface exploration suits.
Next, we did a walking tour of the UND Space Program, including the Mars Lunar Habitat, which is conducted and funded in collaboration with NASA. The Mars Habitat confines crews of three for as long as 14 days, allowing them to conduct experiments and collect data.
Then, we visited the Human Space Flight Lab and the Atmospheric Chamber before participating in a town hall with UND Space Program students. You can watch our discussion from the town hall here.
You can watch KVRR's report on Administrator Bridenstine's visit below.
Next Up: Grand Sky Park
Administrator Bridenstine also visited Grand Sky Park to receive an update on Unmanned Traffic Management and Beyond Visual Line of Site and to tour Northrup Grumman and General Atomics facilities.
Grand Sky has built an outstanding partnership between public and private sectors to advance the work of unmanned aircraft systems. I am thankful for their hospitality and for the opportunity to show Jim what they have achieved in the world of in aerospace and unmanned systems.
We toured the Northrop Gruman facility, a leading global security company serving as a nucleus for research and development, operations and mission analysis, pilot training, and aircraft maintenance. Northrop Gruman leaders spoke about their work as an autonomous capability center.
Our day ended with a visit to General Atomics Training Academy, a facility providing flight instructions to aircrews and training foreign military customers who seek to grow their own aircrews.
Fargo National Cemetery
I joined the dedication ceremony for the Fargo National Cemetery and helped unveil the Tribute to the Fallen and Their Families Plaque.
As we look upon this resting place, I think about how we ought to be living to honor their service. The best way to remember those who offered to die for our country is to celebrate the freedoms they volunteered to give their lives to protect.
This new 4.82 acre cemetery, located 200 miles away from the state-managed North Dakota Veterans Cemetery, is the first national cemetery built in North Dakota. The cemetery will serve the burial needs of more than 30,000 Veterans, their spouses, and eligible family members.
VA Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs Randy Reeves joined the dedication, which is part of the VA’s National Cemetery Administration Rural Initiative to provide access to VA burial benefits for Veterans who reside in rural areas.
Congrats General Becklund and General Schulte
Over the weekend, I attended a ceremony to celebrate the retirement of Brigadier General Robert J. Becklund and the promotion of Colonel Robert Schulte as Brigadier General.
North Dakota’s military assets- especially the Hooligans- are positioned as well as anybody for the future of warfighting. But as impressive as that is, none of it would work if we did not have the best of the best. Thank you to General Becklund, General Schulte, and all who do such an excellent job in serving our country.
General Becklund is the Chief of Staff for Air, Joint Force Headquarters, North Dakota National Guard, in Fargo, providing guidance and direction necessary to ensure State and Federal missions are accomplished by assigned Air National Guard units. A graduate of North Dakota State University and former Commander of Fargo’s Happy Hooligans, General Becklund is a major advocate for advancing UAS technology.
General Schulte is the 119th Medical Group Commander, supervising the use of base medical resources in support of this wing as well as the 219th Security Forces in Minot. Originally from Mandan, Colonel Schulte has served since 1993 and maintains a faculty appointment at the University of Mary.
Annual Tribal Leaders Summit
Last week, the United Tribes Technical College held their 23rd Annual Tribal Leaders Summit and Tradeshow.
UTTC and all our Tribal Colleges play critical roles in tribal communities by offering an affordable, quality education. They are able not only to break cycles of generational poverty but also to help preserve Indian language and heritage. I'm proud of their work and the significant contributions they make to our communities and our culture.
This event also served as a good reminder that as important as the government-to-government relationships are, it is the servant-to-constituent relationship that matters the most. Because if individuals have personal relationships with their leaders, you have a greater influence over global- as well as local- issues. Those in New York, California, and Texas don’t get to sit in a room with their senators and governor and discuss important issues on a regular basis. So these kinds of events are a blessing.
Funding for the Border Wall
Last week, the U.S. Department of Defense announced they will not use funds designated for North Dakota military projects to pay for border wall construction.
I am pleased to see no military projects in North Dakota will be impacted. Our National Guard recently broke ground on a Readiness Center in Fargo, which will not only help the local community but will also bolster our entire military’s readiness. I will continue advocating in Congress for proper military funding while working with President Trump and his Administration to ensure the wall gets built.
“In identifying military construction projects for deferral, the Department relied on Department of Defense Components to prioritize projects with award dates in fiscal year 2020 or later, the deferral of which would have minimal effects on Component readiness. The Department did not consider any family housing, barracks, or dormitory projects for deferral. No military construction projects that already have been awarded and no military construction projects with FY2019 award dates were deferred," the Department of Defense said.
My offices are open in Bismarck, Grand Forks, Minot, Fargo and Washington, D.C. You can stop by or call any of the following offices. You can also visit my website at www.cramer.senate.gov.
328 Federal Building
220 East Rosser Avenue
Bismarck, ND 58501
114 Federal Building
102 North 4th Street
Grand Forks, ND 58203
105 Federal Building
100 First Street SW
Minot, ND 58701
306 Federal Building
657 Second Avenue North
Fargo, ND 58102
400 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
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