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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

May 8, 2014 Press Release
Washington, DC – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the House supported H. Res. 567, Establishment of the Select Committee on the Events Surrounding Benghazi. This resolution comes after last week’s discovery of White House emails that revealed the Administration’s role in purposefully misreporting the cause of the attack to the American people.
May 7, 2014 Press Release
Washington, DC – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) praised his colleague Congressman Jim Bridenstine (OK-01) for sponsoring an amendment that will prevent the deactivation of three E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft stationed at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City and preserve the 513th Air Control Group (ACG).
April 5, 2014 News Stories

Defense News - John T. Bennett

Widespread opposition has yet to form around any single Pentagon proposal to cut a specific weapon system, indicating most could be implemented despite lawmakers’ protestations on behalf of parochial interests.

Some lawmakers and analysts were quick to dismiss the Pentagon’s 2015 budget plan as dead on arrival. After all, it called for big troop cuts, politically radioactive troop benefit cuts, left some wondering if 11 aircraft carriers are affordable, and cut entire fleets of A-10 attack aircraft and U-2 spy planes.

March 12, 2014 Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04), a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, released the following statement after the United States Air Force announced force structure changes in light of the president’s fiscal year 2015 budget proposal.

March 3, 2014 Weekly Columns

Last month, President Obama filed his annual budget blueprint for fiscal year 2015. While the contents of his proposal have been a major topic of discussion in the news since then, its official release on March 4 will determine the next steps for lawmakers, who must work together to ultimately find a common agreement.

February 25, 2014 Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04), a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, released the following statement after Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel revealed cuts to the Department of Defense in President Obama’s budget for fiscal year 2015. Among many of the proposed changes, the Army would see a reduction from 522,000 soldiers to between 450,000 and 490,000; the Army National Guard would see a reduction from 355,000 to 335,000 by 2017.

January 9, 2014 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04), along with members of the entire Oklahoma delegation, today sent a letter to FAA Administrator Michael P. Huerta requesting a detailed briefing regarding the recent selection of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) test sites.
October 3, 2013 Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) joined with House colleagues to urge Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Acting Homeland Security Secretary Rand Beers and OMB Director Sylvia Burwell to properly enforce the Pay Our Military Act. This letter was sent after hundreds of thousands of Department of Defense, U.S. Coast Guard civilians and members of the National Guard were furloughed.

September 10, 2013 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) remembered the tragedy of September 11, when planes were hijacked twelve years ago by terrorists and crashed into the World Trade Centers in New York City, the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and killed passengers on Flight 93 when it crashed in a field near Stoneycreek Township, Pennsylvania.
September 5, 2013 Press Release
Norman, OK - Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement to express his opposition of any American military intervention in Syria.

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