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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

July 7, 2011 Press Release


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.

June 24, 2011 Press Release

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:

June 3, 2011 Press Release

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.

April 7, 2011 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) today introduced legislation requiring the Obama administration to release any State and Defense department documents pertaining to consultation with Congress prior to committing U.S. forces to intervene in Libya. Examining the documents will allow members of Congress to determine if the Obama administration complied with its requirements under the Constitution and War Powers Resolution to consult with the legislative branch before sending troops into combat operations.

December 2, 2009 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) issued the following statement regarding President Obama's recent speech on the way forward in Afghanistan.

September 18, 2009 Press Release

WASHINGTON - U.S. Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) provided the following statement regarding news that President Obama has chosen to abandon plans for the European Missile Defense site, which would have placed 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic.

May 7, 2009 Press Release

Bill Discourages Detainee Transfers, Strengthens States Rights, Enacts Strict Guidelines for Administration

WASHINGTON – Today U.S. Congressman Tom Cole (OK-4) signed onto the Keep Terrorists Out of America Act.  This legislation is similar to the bill Cole introduced in February, H.R. 1012, the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility Safe Closure Act of 2009.  Both pieces of legislation were designed to discourage the transfer or release of terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay onto United States soil.

September 30, 2008 Weekly Columns
During a time of war, keeping tactical communications veiled from enemies is critically important. In World War I a special group of individuals were in charge of keeping the United States' tactical messages a secret from the enemy.
July 30, 2008 Weekly Columns
A new piece of legislation is being considered by the Armed Services and Judiciary committees that would irresponsibly amend the federal judicial code to allow detained, enemy combatants to apply for writs of habeas corpus.
June 23, 2008 Weekly Columns
Thomas Paine once said, "The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph." In the past few months two pieces of legislation have been the source of intense debate from both sides of the political aisle.

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