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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.

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 and serving with allied forces all over the world. They serve as the first line of defense for threats to the homeland and provide critical emergency and disaster support. As a key part of our national security architecture, the 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 at any given time in basic combat, one-station unit training and advanced individual training. The Air Defense Artillery (ADA) Branch returned to Fort Sill from Fort Bliss in 2010 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 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; this includes serving as the first and still-primary home for the E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft. Each year, Tinker awards roughly $1 billion in contracts to small Oklahoma-based businesses and almost three times that 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 KC-46, 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, F117, F118, F119, F135 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 bombers 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.

Continuous improvements in manufacturing processes and quality control have made the Tinker community a nationwide leader in innovation. Resulting cost savings and increased capacity will result in less down time for important aircraft and weapons systems and allow Tinker to do even more work for the Air Force and other customers. Tinker has been preeminent 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 21, 2020 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) and Congresswoman Elaine Luria (VA-02) released the following statements after the U.S. House of Representatives adopted the TRICARE ECHO Improvement Act as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act.
July 10, 2020 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) joined a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers in introducing legislation to establish limits on the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force.
July 9, 2020 Weekly Columns
We come together as Republicans and Democrats to advance a common cause. Together, we are united by a core principle: Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the U.S. Constitution makes clear that the authority to declare war resides with Congress and Congress alone.
May 29, 2020 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) this week congratulated nine students who received and accepted appointments to attend one of the United States military service academies.
May 22, 2020 Weekly Columns

Throughout Military Appreciation Month, we have rightly joined in expressing gratitude for our service members, their families and their daily sacrifices on our behalf. In answering the call to serve, members of our military demonstrate incredible loyalty, and their sense of duty and patriotism is truly unmatched. Some will miss weddings, funerals or the births of their own children. And as we solemnly think of our fallen heroes on Memorial Day, we remember that some will even make the ultimate sacrifice, offering their last full measure of devotion to their nation.

May 22, 2020 Press Release
Norman, OK – As part of a bipartisan and bicameral group of lawmakers, Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) today joined in sending a letter to President Trump, Defense Secretary Esper and FEMA Administrator Gaynor, requesting that the Administration ensure National Guard personnel serving on the front lines of COVID-19 response efforts receive their earned benefits.
March 9, 2020 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) and Congresswoman Elaine Luria (VA-02) introduced the bipartisan TRICARE ECHO Improvement Act, which would make commonsense changes to TRICARE’s existing Extended Care Health Option (ECHO) program.
February 15, 2020 News Stories
U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, whose Oklahoma district includes two large military bases and several National Guard and Reserve facilities, introduced legislation this week that would grant the same amount of hazard duty incentive pay to Guard and Reserve members that active duty troops receive.
February 14, 2020 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – This week, Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) joined in introducing the bipartisan Guard and Reserve Pay Equity Act to create pay equity on hazard duty incentive pay for all National Guard and Army Reserve service members.
February 4, 2020 Weekly Columns
When it comes to matters of war, you might have heard of something called an authorization for the use of military force (AUMF). In recent days following Iranian aggression and the President Trump’s use of defensive force, there has been a lot of attention paid to prior authorizations and the U.S. military’s ongoing presence in the Middle East.

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