WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after House passage of H.R. 5652, the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act of 2012. The bill protects the military from dangerous, arbitrary budget cuts by taking a responsible, balanced approach to cutting wasteful spending throughout the budget. Without congressional action, the military will bear a disproportionate burden of the $109 billion in automatic, across-the-board spending cuts set to take place in January 2013.
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
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement in response to President Obama's remarks in Afghanistan:
"I appreciate the fact that the president took the chance to visit Afghanistan for the first time in 17 months and address the American people on the war for the first time in over a year.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement in response to comments by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta regarding Pentagon budget cuts and potential base closures:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after President Obama announced new defense strategy priorities in remarks at the Pentagon:
"These changes will make America weaker, not stronger. We are cutting defense spending and the size of our armed forces because the Obama administration is overspending in other areas, not because we have a military that is too large or overfunded.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after Boeing announced the transfer of hundreds of engineering jobs to their Oklahoma City facility:
"This is great news for our state and confirms that Oklahoma is a fantastic place to do business. Boeing's decision to transfer up to 900 high-quality jobs here is a testament to the quality of our workforce, sensible tax policies, and infrastructure investment. Oklahoma continues to build on our reputation as a business-friendly state, and that should only attract more jobs in the future."
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Members of the Oklahoma Congressional Delegation today reacted to news that Tinker Air Force Base’s (AFB) Air Logistics Center (ALC) will become the new single head for Air Force sustainment and logistics. The realignment, a move that is in line with the Defense Department’s requirement to make $450 billion in spending cuts over the next decade, will mean that Tinker will lose its current Two Star General slot, but will gain a Three Star General and a One Star General billet.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement in response to President Obama's announcement that he would be recalling all American troops from Iraq by the end of the year.
"The clear winners in today's announcement are Iran and Al Qaeda. I find it very disappointing that Prime Minister Maliki and President Obama were unwilling to give the effort needed to come to an agreement that was clearly in the best interests of both of our nations.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the House approved his amendment to prohibit funding for military operations in Libya by a vote of 225-201. Cole offered the amendment to the FY 2012 Department of Defense Appropriations Act (H.R. 2219).
"Congress has allowed the president to overreach in Libya. We should not be engaged in military action of this level unless it is authorized and funded by Congress.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after voting against H.J.Res.68, a bill to authorize the use of U.S. armed forces in Libya. Cole also voted against H.R. 2278, which would maintain funding for the majority of U.S. operations in Libya while eliminating funding for only limited aspects of U.S. involvement:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the voting in favor of H.Res. 292, which requires President Obama to seek congressional authorization for military operations in Libya and to specify a process for withdrawal. Cole also voted in favor of H.Con.Res. 51, a resolution calling for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Libya within 15 days.