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 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
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.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) made the following remarks on the House floor in support of H.R. 5856 - Department of Defense Appropriations Act. Cole is a member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.
"This is a good bill. As been mentioned earlier, it adds roughly $1 billion from roughly $519 billion in the base defense bill. What hasn't been mentioned, though, our overseas contingency fund [at] $88.5 billion [is] down $27 billion.
The Arms Trade Treaty currently under consideration by the United Nations is rightfully the subject of growing concern. Typical of many U.N. initiatives, the treaty has an unrealistic but vaguely laudable goal. According to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, the "robust and legally binding" treaty "will have a real impact on the lives of those millions of people suffering from consequences of armed conflict, repression and armed violence." By establishing international standards on the import, export and transfer of arms, the U.N.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Congressman Tom Cole (OK-4) released the following statement after the White House asserted executive privilege to prevent the release of documents subpoenaed by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to complete their investigation into Operation Fast and Furious:
More than one year after the congressional investigation into "Operation Fast and Furious" began, Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice continue to obstruct all efforts to bring accountability to those responsible for the disastrous gun-walking operation that left one Border Patrol agent dead and put hundreds of weapons in the hands of dangerous Mexican drug cartels.
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: