A letter from U.S. Air Force acquisition chief Andrew Hunter last month to North Dakota’s senators acknowledges the thteat that a Chinese company would pose to national security, if the company–a leading maker of monosodium glutamate–is allowed to build a plant near Grand Forks AFB, N.D.
Hunter met in December with Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.), a co-chair of the Senate Air Force Caucus, and Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) “regarding the Fufeng Group’s proposal to build a large corn mill processing plant approximately 12 miles from Grand Forks Air Force Base,” Hunter wrote in a Jan. 27 letter to Hoeven and Kramer.
“The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) considered an October, 2022 filing by the Fufeng Group to acquire certain areas in the vicinity of Grand Forks, North Dakota,” per the letter. “While CFIUS concluded that it did not have jurisdiction, the Deparment [of the Air Force]’s view is unambiguous: the proposed project presents a significant threat to national security with both near-and long-term risks of significant impacts to our operations in the area.”
Section 2854 of the fiscal 2023 National Defense Authorization Act requires a report by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin “describing land held by covered [Chinese] entities within 25 miles of a military installation or military airspace in the United States.”
Grand Forks AFB and its environs have air and space components, including the Northrop Grumman [NOC] RQ-4B Global Hawk Block 40 reconnaissance drones and maintenance of high-frequency global communications systems, and will have future operations centers for the U.S. Space Force’s Space Development Agency, and future hypersonic testing under the SkyRange program.
“Aside from concerns about taking farmland out of production completely or placing it under the financial direction of antagonistic nations, particularly at a time of rising costs and concerns about the stability of the global food supply, the U.S. must constantly be attentive to our adversaries’ aims to exploit every vulnerability and gain economic and military advantages,” Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, wrote in an editorial on Fox News Digital last month “That would include expanding its espionage and intelligence gathering activity on American soil.”
U.S. officials are considering further actions after a high altitude Chinese balloon has hovered this week over Malmstrom AFB, Mont., and other locations in the western U.S. The Pentagon said that it has monitored the balloon and dispatched a Boeing [BA] AWACS and Lockheed Martin [LMT] F-22 fighters to keep tabs.