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
The Hill - Pete Kasperowicz
Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) is calling on Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to speed up the process of reforming the department's internal postal service to ensure that members of the U.S. armed forces get their absentee ballots on time.
"For years our overseas service members have faced longstanding obstacles to their participation in elections," Cole wrote to Panetta in a letter he released Monday.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) today sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta urging him modernize the military voting system in order to remove obstacles overseas military service members face in exercising their voting rights. Cole made the following comment about the issue:
As information continues to emerge about the September 11 terrorist attack in Libya, evidence has grown stronger that the Obama administration's response, both before and after the assault, was inadequate at best.
In less than 90 days, the military will face devastating spending cuts accompanied by massive lay-offs to the defense industry unless President Obama and Senate Democrats work with House Republicans to stop the sequester. Everyone in Washington agrees that the $492 billion in automatic, arbitrary military spending cuts known as sequestration would be disastrous for both our defense capabilities and our economy. It is absolutely unacceptable that the president and Senate have allowed the process to advance this far without offering solutions.
Almost one month after the September 11 attack on the consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, the Obama administration's constantly evolving explanations raise more questions than answers.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced its intention to transfer $450 million in aid funding to Egypt. Cole serves on the Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, which is chaired by Rep. Kay Granger.
Exactly 11 years after the September 11th attacks, the tragic and troubling events in Libya and the greater Middle East are a reminder that freedom and American values remain a target for violent extremists.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Congressman Tom Cole (OK-4) released the following statement regarding the attacks in Libya:
"The sympathy and prayers of all Americans are with the families of the fine public servants who were murdered in this senseless attack.
"The Libyan government owes its freedom in large measure to U.S. men and women in uniform, and Libya's complete cooperation is demanded to bring swift and sure punishment to those responsible.
Our military faces devastating reductions in capability unless the Senate and President Obama will join the House of Representatives in acting to prevent debilitating spending cuts -- half of which were never meant to be enacted.
The Pentagon is slated for $487 billion in cuts under President Obama's budget. That means that over the next five years, the military will be forced to carry out its missions with70,000 fewer soldiers, 20,000 fewer Marines, 25 fewer combat vessels and seven fewer aircraft fighter wings.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Congressman Tom Cole (OK-4) released the following statement after House passage of H.R. 5856 - Department of Defense Appropriations Act. Cole is a member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.
"Anyone who thinks America spends too much for defense should examine this legislation. This year's Defense Appropriations bill cuts $28 billion and reduces the number of military personnel by 21,000.