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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.

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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

More on Defense and National Security

June 18, 2004 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Cole today voted for the 2005 Homeland Security funding package. This plan will provide first responders with the tools they need to protect the nation’s citizens, borders and communications systems.
May 13, 2004 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Cole played a major role in shaping our national defense budget when the House Armed Services Committee approved the FY2005 National Defense Authorization Act late last night.
May 6, 2004 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Cole today voted for a resolution that condemns the abuse of prisoners in U.S. custody in Iraq. H. Res. 627 also emphasized that alleged crimes of a few should not detract from the commendable sacrifices of over 300,000 members of the Armed Forces who have served, or who are serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
March 25, 2004 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Today Congressman Cole voted for the FY 2005 Concurrent Resolution on the Budget that strengthens our national security, grows our economy and creates opportunity for every American—all while maintaining strict fiscal control.
January 27, 2004 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Now more disabled veterans than ever before are receiving concurrent receipt because of the plan that was included in the Department of Defense Authorization Act of 2004 that passed in November.
December 13, 2003 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – "Today marks a decisive moment in the struggle to re-establish a civil society in Iraq."
November 7, 2003 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Tom Cole voted today in support of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004 Conference Report (H.R. 1588), which passed in the House 362-40.
October 31, 2003 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Cole voted today to provide $87.5 billion to support U.S. troops and rebuild Iraq.
October 20, 2003 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – After an important vote to provide $87 billion to support U.S. troops and rebuild Iraq, Congressman Tom Cole along with eight other Members of Congress boarded an Air Force C-32, the military version of the Boeing 757-200, and traveled to Kuwait City, Kuwait and then to Baghdad and Mosul, Iraq.
October 17, 2003 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Cole voted today to provide $87 billion to support U.S. troops and rebuild Iraq. This funding request is a major part of the strategy enabling American troops and their coalition partners to create a stable government and ensure that the Iraqi people are free and prosperous.