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Congressman Tom Cole

Representing the 4th District of Oklahoma

Defense and National Security

Congress has no greater responsibility than to provide our military with the training and resources needed to confront the mounting security challenges and threats around the world. As a senior member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, I am a champion for a strong national defense and returning fiscal discipline to the Pentagon. I will continue to support a strong military well-equipped to face the challenges of the 21st century.

A long-term debt reduction plan remains the most divisive and elusive issue before Congress. In the face of unprecedented budgetary and fiscal challenges, I firmly believe that a broader discussion and debate must take place that includes reforms for mandatory programs, which account for more than two-thirds of annual federal spending. Currently growing at an unsustainable rate, it is imperative that Congress confront the difficult budget decisions to not only save mandatory programs like Medicare and Social Security but to ensure national security programs can continue to be funded at an appropriate level.

Supporting our National Guard and Reserves

The National Guard provides a broad range of capabilities and is essential to our war fighting strategy by participating in exercises with allied forces, serving as the first line of defense for threats to the homeland and responding to disasters. As a key part of our national security architecture, the Army Reserves provide operational flexibility and strategic depth to combatant commanders. Indeed, as world events require, the Guard and Reserve will have a long and enduring role. I support fairness in pay and benefits for all Guard and Reserve members, their families and retirees as they continue to play an essential role as part of the Total Force. 

Strengthening Fort Sill

Located right in the Fourth District of Oklahoma, Fort Sill is the largest field artillery complex in the world. Home to the primary training facility for field artillery Soldiers and Marines worldwide, the Field Artillery School trains approximately 9,000 students a year in basic combat, one-station unit training and advanced individual training.

The Air Defense Artillery (ADA) Branch returned to Fort Sill from Fort Bliss more than 10 years ago and is an integral 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. I am proud that during my tenure in Congress, Fort Sill has become the home of air defense artillery. This new mission has brought 2,500 new soldiers to Fort Sill and led to more than a billion dollars in new funding.

Learn more about Fort Sill at sill-www.army.mil.

Strengthening Tinker Air Force Base

Tinker Air Force Base is the home to six major Department of Defense, Air Force and Navy activities with critical national defense missions. In 2018, Tinker awarded more than $1 billion in contracts to small Oklahoma-based businesses and another $2.7 billion to companies in Oklahoma. Tinker is also Oklahoma’s largest single-site employer, with 17,000 civilian and 9,000 military employees and an economic impact of $4.55 billion to the state.

Tinker's largest organization is the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex. The largest of three depot repair complexes in the Air Force Materiel Command, it provides depot maintenance on the C/KC-135, B-1B, B-52 and E-3 aircraft, expanded phase maintenance on the Navy E-6 aircraft and maintenance, repair and overhaul of F100, F101, F108, F110, F118, F119 and TF33 engines for the Air Force, Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard, Navy and foreign military sales. The complex is also responsible for the maintenance, repair and overhaul of Air Force bomber and tankers, as well as other services’ aircraft platforms and engines. Work at Tinker also includes the development, sustainment and testing of operational flight programs, test program sets, test equipment and industrial automation software.

Recent improvements 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 its use of LEAN and Six Sigma Process Reform, which has greatly increased the utilization of depot capabilities. Throughout my time in Congress, I have worked with Tinker to ensure it has the resources needed to continually reform and rethink its depot maintenance process and adapt to the changing demands of an aging fleet.

Learn more about Tinker AFB at tinker.af.mil.

More on Defense and National Security

September 21, 2019 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper announced Friday that President Donald Trump has approved deployment of U.S. defensive troops to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
September 10, 2019 Weekly Columns

Even though the U.S. House of Representatives was not in session, I kept a busy schedule during the extended work period. Throughout the last six weeks, I spent a great deal of time in Oklahoma hearing directly from constituents, local community leaders and small business owners at town halls and other meetings. In addition to these valuable conversations with fellow Oklahomans, I participated in two insightful learning trips with some of my colleagues in Congress.

September 5, 2019 Press Release
Norman, OK – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04), a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, released the following statement in response to the diversion of federal funds from military construction projects to border security needs.
July 17, 2019 Weekly Columns

Each year, Congress must authorize the necessary funding and resources for our nation’s defense. Unfortunately, the partisanship that continues to plague the U.S. House of Representatives recently reached a new low, ending the longstanding tradition of passing the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) with overwhelming bipartisanship in the House and affirming support for our troops and the critical resources they need to be effective.

July 15, 2019 Weekly Chats

July 13, 2019 News Stories
Fourth District Congressman Tom Cole, R-Oklahoma, released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives voted Friday on H.R. 2500, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020.
July 12, 2019 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives voted on H.R. 2500, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020.
July 11, 2019 News Stories
The U.S. House of Representatives has taken up its own National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the legislation passed each year to set the appropriations for the military and other homeland security programs.
June 22, 2019 News Stories
U.S. Sen. James Lankford and U.S. Rep. Tom Cole said Friday they were concerned about recent provocative acts by Iran but that a measured response was the best course for now.
June 21, 2019 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), Representative Markwayne Mullin (OK-02), and Representative Tom Cole (OK-04) made the following statements after Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer announced the newest Towing, Salvage and Rescue ship (T-ATS) would be named Cherokee Nation.

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