Defense and National Security
I have the privilege of representing the men and women of Fort Sill and Tinker Air Force Base in Congress. My voting record reflects my firm belief in a strong national defense. I believe Congress has no greater responsibility than providing our military with the resources it needs to be the best equipped and the best trained in the world. In a post September 11, 2001, now is not the time to ignore ongoing terrorist threats, or threats emerging over the horizon. While we must provide funding for these most immediate needs, we must also focus on domestic security and preparation for future challenges.
A long-term debt reduction plan remains the most divisive and elusive issue before Congress, and the country is facing unprecedented budgetary and fiscal challenges. In the face of looming and disproportional cuts to defense spending, I firmly believe that a broader discussion and debate must take place that includes Medicare and Social Security in the conversation. Under existing law, defense will take a 9 percent across-the-board cut each year for ten years. It is imperative that action be taken and decisions be made in order to offset the defense and other cuts due this year with reductions elsewhere in the budget.
Taking Care of our National Guard and Reserves
After 10 years of war, the National Guard and Reserves are a proven and integral part of our war fighting strategy. The extent to which our country has relied on the Reserves and National Guard should prove the case that defense budgets must not be cut. Because of our reliance on the Guard and Reserves, we must be ever more vigilant about their budgets and unique and challenging environment within which our citizen soldiers serve.
A smooth transition back to civilian life and to work with the Employer Support of Guard and Reserve is paramount. I take these problems very seriously and wish to reassure our Guardsmen and Reservists that their experiences will continue to directly inform my position on legislation relating to these matters.
Strengthening Fort Sill
Fort Sill is critical to the U.S. Army and is the premier artillery-training site for both the Army and the U.S. Marine Corps. The U.S. Air Force also uses part of Fort Sill as a training range.
With the conclusion of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process, Fort Sill became the home of the Air Defense Artillery (ADA) Branch. Transferred from Fort Bliss, the ADA is back again as part of the Fort Sill Community. Designated as the Fires Center of Excellence for the Army, soldiers and leaders are trained and educated in Fires readiness and joint operations. I will continue to support efforts to ensure the Fires community has the equipment, tools, and infrastructure necessary to develop the right mix of capabilities for the future. To find more information about Fort Sill please visit sill-www.army.mil.
Strengthening Tinker Air Force Base
I am committed to helping to strengthen Tinker Air Force Base, one of the most valuable depot maintenance and sustainment facilities within the U.S. Air Force. Recent improvements on base in manufacturing and quality control have made Tinker a nationwide leader in innovation. Resulting cost savings and increased capacity will allow Tinker to do even more work for the Air Force and other customers.
Tinker has been a preeminent lead in their use of LEAN and Six Sigman Process Reform, which has greatly increased the utilization of depot capabilities. Throughout my time in Congress, I have worked with Tinker to ensure that they have the resources they need to continually reform and rethink their depot maintenance process. This will ultimately be critical in ensuring that Tinker is the No. 1 depot for the 21st century.
Additionally, the new Tanker will provide opportunities for Tinker to exploit in the future. I intend on standing by Tinker and assisting it as the new Tanker begins its service life. To find more information about Tinker visit www.tinker.af.mil.