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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 it needs to meet the growing security challenges 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 support a strong military and believe one of my greatest responsibilities is to support a force postured to meet 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 Medicare and Social Security in the conversation. It is imperative that Congress confront the difficult budget decisions now, so that national security programs can continue to be funded at a level that ensures our armed forces are trained and equipped to meet any number of growing national security threats facing the United States.

Supporting our National Guard and Reserves

The National Guard provides a broad range of capabilities and is essential to our war fighting strategy. The Guard participates in exercises with allied forces, serves as the first line of defense for threats to the homeland and responds to disasters. The Reserves provide operational flexibility and strategic depth to combatant commanders as a key part of our national security architecture. 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, 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. 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. 

To find more information about Fort Sill please visit 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. With more than 26,000 military and civilian employees, Tinker is the largest single-site employer in Oklahoma and has a $3.6 billion economic impact on the state's economy each year.   

The complex is responsible for the maintenance, repair and overhaul of a myriad of Air Force and Navy airborne accessory components. In addition, work at Tinker 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. To find more information about Tinker AFB, visit tinker.af.mil.

More on Defense and National Security

March 20, 2017 Weekly Columns
Each year, Congress has the responsibility to pass a budget, and then appropriate funds in accordance with that budget to fund the federal government agencies. The process typically starts in February when the President submits his proposed budget. But Congress has no obligation to adhere to the President’s budget or even to put it to a vote. President Obama’s budgets were routinely rejected - and not on a partisan basis. More than once his proposed budgets failed to receive a single vote from either party in both the House and the Senate.
 
March 20, 2017 Weekly Columns
Each year, Congress has the responsibility to pass a budget, and then appropriate funds in accordance with that budget to fund the federal government agencies. The process typically starts in February when the President submits his proposed budget. But Congress has no obligation to adhere to the President’s budget or even to put it to a vote. President Obama’s budgets were routinely rejected - and not on a partisan basis. More than once his proposed budgets failed to receive a single vote from either party in both the House and the Senate.
 
March 8, 2017 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1301, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2017 by a vote of 371-48. This bill will provide the funding for the Department of Defense and related programs authorized through the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2017.
 
March 6, 2017 Weekly Columns
President Trump was elected in no small degree based on the economic and national security anxieties facing millions of working class Americans. He correctly identified with, and gave voice to, their anger and their frustration. Consequently, the tone of his campaign and the early days of his presidency were not exactly upbeat in tone. However, his Joint Address to Congress last week was a sharp and welcome change.
February 27, 2017 Weekly Columns
For the past sixteen years the United States military has been engaged in several conflicts, primarily, but not exclusively, in the Middle East. It’s not an exaggeration to say the United States has been in a state of war since the attacks of September 11. And yet, we have been trying to combat growing threats of new kinds of terrorism worldwide without a formal authorization of military force since 2003. With the rise of groups like ISIS, we should continue that precedent so that we can combat our enemies with full force.
February 21, 2017 Weekly Columns
There are a number of initiatives and policy questions to address in the first one hundred days of a new administration. However, the defense of our nation is among the first and most important of government’s duties, and the state of Oklahoma rightly takes tremendous pride in preparing the military for any fight so that we may all live in peace. 
 
February 14, 2017 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after he introduced legislation to prohibit the federal employee hiring freeze from being applied to certain Department of Defense (DoD) civilian employees, and a measure to ensure work at Tinker Air Force Base and McAlester Ammunition Plant can continue if there is a lapse in federal funding.   
 
January 30, 2017 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after President Donald Trump signed an executive order temporarily restricting persons entering the United States from seven nations: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan. These nations have been known to harbor terrorism and to have been compromised by terrorism.
 
January 18, 2017 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after President Obama commuted the sentence for Chelsea Manning. Manning is accused of leaking classified information from the government.
 
December 27, 2016 Weekly Columns
This past year was one of great change for America. After eight years of President Obama, the American people elected perhaps the most unorthodox candidate in our nation’s history. The nominating process for both parties was unlike any we have ever seen. The Democrats nearly nominated a self proclaimed Socialist before settling on the establishment front runner, Hillary Clinton. And the Republicans nominated a candidate who had never sought or held elected office before.

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