Heitkamp: Grand Forks Could be Vital for National Security

Senator Heitkamp talks the investigation between the 2016 election and President Trump among other issues

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — U.S Senator Heidi Heitkamp, Grand Forks leaders and Russian experts are talking about ways the city can keep the United States safe.

A CNN report says both Democrats and Republicans want answers to a possible association between the Trump campaign and Russia.

President Trump took his thoughts to Twitter, saying this whole investigation is a “witch hunt.”

Since then, the House intelligence investigation has been derailed.

“The Russians are liable. The Russians are responsible,” said Kennan Institute Director Matthew Rojansky.

Senator Heitkamp also said it’s not in our best interest to jump to conclusions before hearing the full investigative report when it comes to a possible Russian influence over the election.

“Anyone who pre-judges what this means, I think you’re foolish,” she said.

The North Dakota senator said Russia is building up military forces in the Arctic region and thinks this is a growing concern for national security.

But Grand Forks, a city with a population of just over 60,000 people, may be just what the United States needs to be secure.

With advanced UAS drone technology, Sen. Heitkamp said it makes North Dakota the perfect area to prepare for possible threats north of the border.

“I would think again that the UAS would be very useful effectively employed in the arctic for weather observations and real time observations so we don’t have another titanic,” said Former U.S Ambassador, Kenneth Yalowitz.

The Grand Forks Air Force Base also has a play in this.

The nearly 13,000 foot runway gives American aircrafts a close vantage point to monitor the Arctic.

“The ability to take off from North Dakota and do testing whether that’s to move towards the arctic or here locally, I think it offers an array of opportunities,” said Colonel Rodney Lewis with the Grand Forks Air Force Base.

Heitkamp said our greatest tool in keeping the peace is by setting clear boundaries and understanding what we’re facing as a nation.

“Recognizing that Russia is a threat to this country,” she said. “We know that here because we’re on the frontline of protecting against that threat.”

Sen. Heitkamp also said she is confident the city of Grand Forks can be instrumental in maintaining stability from outside threats the nation may face.

She also hosted a community meeting with leaders at the Grand Forks Air Force Base and discussed ways to increase the strength of potential Arctic missions in the future.

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