Gen. James Dickinson, commander of the U.S. Space Command, worked to solidify his relations with students, researchers and those stationed at the Cavalier Air Space Station during his first visit to North Dakota on Monday, Sept. 14.

Dickinson's visit, which included a stop at UND, was hosted by Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., who familiarized him with North Dakota's contributions to the national defense strategy.

"Great Americans, great patriots here are doing things for the country," said Dickinson, who was appointed to his position in July with a mission to defend U.S. interests in space.

"We continue to see that we have competitors doing things in space for which they need to be held accountable," he said.

Prior to Dickinson's remarks at Robin Hall on the campus of UND, Cramer took the opportunity to emphasize North Dakota as a key player, citing university research, upcoming cadets and current military facilities.

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"We have a culture that is very supportive of the military," said Cramer, acknowledging another essential aspect. "I think all that adds up to a very important relationship."

Cramer, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, warned that space is no longer a benign domain and that he was pleased to showcase North Dakota as an important player for now and into the future.

"It is a domain that needs to be defended .... Space is becoming a more contested domain," he said, noting that, as it becomes more cluttered, it also becomes more important to know what is there and what it is doing.

By stepping up to lead U.S. Space Command, Dickinson enabled the previous commander, Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, to remove one of his “dual hats” and focus exclusively on his job as chief of space operations. Raymond also toured UND and visited Cavalier Air Space Station at the invitation of Cramer in January. While at the base, Raymond announced an additional $700-per-month incentive pay for each person stationed in Cavalier, which Dickinson underscored in his own remarks on the importance of maintaining that remote location.