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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

July 6, 2016 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the FBI announced that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will not be charged due to her mishandling of classified material on a private server.
 
June 28, 2016 Press Release
Norman, OK – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the Senate failed to pass H.R. 2577, the conference report directed at funding Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies, as well the Zika Response and Preparedness Act. This legislation would fund continuing military infrastructure projects and programs, and would include funding for confronting the Zika virus through Fiscal Year 2017.
 
June 24, 2016 Weekly Columns
While our nation continues to mourn the innocent lives that were lost in the horrific terrorist attack in Orlando, Florida, our leaders are pushing to know more details as each day passes. And each day, another disturbing truth is revealed. Unfortunately, the conversation has strayed from the shooter’s clear, ISIS-inspired motive. The blame has shifted the from shooter’s mind, to the shooter’s gun. The root of this evil is terrorism, and we must do everything we can to stop it.
 
June 16, 2016 Press Release
Washington, DC – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5293, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2017. The legislation provides funding for critical security programs, military operations and readiness.
May 19, 2016 Press Release
Washington, DC – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04), a member of the House Committee on Appropriations, released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 4974, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations legislation for fiscal year 2017.
May 18, 2016 Press Release
Washington, DC – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04), a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 4909, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2017.
May 18, 2016 News Stories
The House began debating its defense bill on Tuesday as the White House threatened a veto over several provisions, including some written by Oklahoma lawmakers.
May 17, 2016 News Stories
A split has emerged between House and Senate Republicans over whether women should have to register for the draft beginning in 2018. House Republicans on the influential Rules Committee stripped a provision from the defense bill that included the requirement. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, a member of the committee, was among those who voted to remove the provision.
May 16, 2016 Weekly Columns

Warfare has evolved again, and today, terrorism has become an intrinsic part of the world order. This type of conflict is ambiguous, spills across borders and is not subject to the lessons learned from history’s book on warfare. However, President Barack Obama has decidedly attempted to convince the American people otherwise, particularly in the War on Terror and in confronting ISIS. 

May 9, 2016 Weekly Columns

Throughout the history of the American military, millions of men and women have volunteered to serve a cause greater than themselves, and their families have offered a similar sacrifice to support them. Given their incredible and selfless contributions to preserving and defending the American way of life every single day, it is only right that we dedicate an entire month to honor them and express our sincerest gratitude. 

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