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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

June 17, 2014 News Stories

NewsOK - Chris Casteel

The White House came out strongly on Tuesday against the defense spending bill set to be considered by the full U.S. House this week and specifically cited a provision that would protect AWACS planes stationed at Tinker Air Force Base.

A statement from the White House budget office says a section of the spending bill authored by Rep. Tom Cole "would prevent the Air Force from using funds to divest or to disestablish any units of the active or reserve component associated with E-3 airborne warning and control system aircraft.

June 9, 2014 Weekly Columns

With recent events and remembering D-Day 70 years ago, we are grateful for the men and women who courageously volunteer their service in our military to preserve and defend freedom. Whether serving on our own soil or directly in harm’s way overseas, the lives of our military are irreplaceable. 

June 5, 2014 Press Release
Washington, DC – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after it was discovered that Fort Sill Military Base in Lawton is expected to begin housing at least 600 unaccompanied minors who illegally immigrated to the United States. Since fiscal year 2011, the number of these individuals, usually from Central America, has grown from 6,000 to 66,000 last year. By next year, this number is expected to climb even higher to 127,000.
June 2, 2014 Press Release
Washington, DC – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) made the following statement after the release of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, an American soldier who was captured by the Taliban in 2009. Bergdahl was released by the Taliban on Saturday in exchange for five senior Taliban leaders who were detained by the United States at Guantanamo Bay.
June 2, 2014 News Stories

NewsOK - Chris Casteel

Oklahoma Reps. Tom Cole, R-Moore, and Jim Bridenstine, R-Tulsa, released statements on Monday critical of the Obama administration’s decision to exchange five former Taliban leaders who were being held by the United States at Guantanamo Bay for U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

May 27, 2014 News Stories

NewsOK - Chris Casteel

President Barack Obama announced Tuesday that the United States would keep nearly 10,000 troops in Afghanistan through 2016.

May 23, 2014 Weekly Columns

Throughout our more than 237-year history, countless men and women have selflessly answered the call of duty to preserve liberty by serving in our military. Now each day we wake up in a country with freedoms that are coveted, studied and admired across the world. There is no nation greater than the United States of America—a status maintained because of the extraordinary service of those who volunteered to protect our nation. 

May 22, 2014 Press Release
Washington, DC – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the House passed H.R. 4435, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2015. Before reaching the House floor, this legislation was passed out of the House Armed Services Committee on May 8 by a unanimous vote.
May 20, 2014 News Stories

Federal News Radio - Jack Moore

A proposed amendment to the House version of the annual bill setting policy for the Defense Department would preemptively protect DoD employees paid through working-capital funds from potential furloughs.

The measure, which was introduced Monday by Reps. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) and Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.), is being considered by the House Rules Committee Tuesday. The House is expected to take up the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act as early as this week.

May 19, 2014 Press Release
Washington, DC – Today, Representative Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Representative Tom Cole (R-OK) introduced an amendment to prevent furloughs for federal Department of Defense employees paid through working capital funds. The amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) would ensure that thousands of workers across the country would not face unpaid leave days due to furloughs as a result of across-the-board budget cuts.

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