05/22/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 05/22/2019 11:05
WASHINGTON - Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee, today met with Lieutenant General L. Scott Rice, the Director of the Air National Guard, to advance priorities of the North Dakota Air National Guard, including:
'We made the case to Lt. General Rice that the 119th Wing needs a manned flying mission to complement its current Reaper mission,' said Hoeven. 'At the same time, with the 119th Wing's Reaper supporting military operations around the globe, we're working with the National Guard Bureau to get them an updated facility to support this mission. Additionally, we continue pressing the Air Guard to provide a tuition assistance program, like the Army National Guard. These efforts will help the North Dakota Air Guard continue their vital defense missions, but also will help the North Dakota Air Guard with recruiting efforts.'
Manned Flying Mission
Hoeven continues to advocate for a manned flying mission for the North Dakota Air National Guard, to operate alongside the 119th Wing's current MQ-9 Reaper Mission.
A New 119th Wing MQ-9 Operations Facility
The North Dakota Air National Guard 119th Wing's Operations Group flies the MQ-9 and needs updated operations facilities to support new advanced technology and equipment. Hoeven is working with North Dakota National Guard leadership and the National Guard Bureau, including meeting recently with Bureau Chief General Joseph L. Lengyel, to secure the new facility and fund its construction.
Improving Guard Education & Health Benefits
Hoeven has been pressing the Air National Guard to stand-up a Federal Tuition Assistance program similar to the Army National Guard. Currently, Army Guardsmen and Reservists are eligible to receive tuition assistance through the Department of Defense, while the Air National Guard does not provide comparable tuition assistance.
In addition, Hoeven has introduced the Montgomery GI Bill Parity Act which would enable members of the Guard and Reserve to concurrently use Federal Tuition Assistance programs and GI Bill benefits to fund their education, similar to active duty servicemembers. The senator also helped introduce the TRICARE Reserve Improvement Act, bipartisan legislation that would extend TRICARE Reserve Select eligibility to all Guardsmen and Reservists, including those who are currently ineligible because they are also federal employees who can enroll in the Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) program.