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Congressman Tom Cole

Representing the 4th District of Oklahoma

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

May 7, 2018 Weekly Columns
As Congress reaches the final stretches of its 115th session, the House can reflect on a long list of accomplishments it has achieved since the beginning of the session. Despite the constant discussions that partisan gridlock may be the new norm, it has been quite the opposite. Since the beginning of the 115th Congress, the House has passed 598 bills – 470 of which are sitting in the Senate with no action. That means almost 79% of all legislation passed thus far have yet to see the Senate Floor or the President’s desk.
April 23, 2018 Weekly Columns
For the past seventeen years, the United States has been engaged in several military conflicts, primarily, but not exclusively, in the Middle East. Most recently, the United States worked in concert with British and French military forces, allies and NATO, to strike targets in Syria. This response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons was an appropriate use of force well within the bounds of the authorities granted to the President of the United States in Article II of the Constitution. 
 
April 13, 2018 Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement in response to the strike by the United States, Great Britian and France against military targets in Syria.

"President Trump and our allies were correct to strike Syrian targets in response to the illegal and immoral use of chemical weapons against its own citizens by the regime of Bashar al-Assad," said Cole. "The President was also right to warn Russia and Iran to cease supporting the actions of the brutal Assad regime.

March 26, 2018 Weekly Columns
After passing multiple continuing resolutions throughout the past year, Congress has finally fulfilled its duty to the American people to fully fund the federal government for the remainder of the 2018 Fiscal Year. This is a significant accomplishment in the progress to return to regular order in the appropriations process. For too long, we have kicked the can down the road and failed to keep our government funding up to date. This habit was damaging and costly to federal programs and agencies, and especially to the military.
March 22, 2018 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04), Chairman of the Labor, HHS, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, released the following statement after the House of Representatives passed the Fiscal Year 2018 omnibus spending bill by a vote of 256-157 with Cole’s support. This legislation includes all 12 appropriations measures, and funds the federal government, agencies and programs for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2018 through September 30, 2018.
 
March 19, 2018 Weekly Columns
This past year, the United States has been experiencing a welcome surge in economic growth. The economic successes America is enjoying is surely due to the hard work and ingenuity of the American people, the implementation of the Republican tax reform and President Trump’s initiative to bring American companies back home. In general, free trade contributes to our national prosperity as well. However, having open markets is not an invitation for others to take advantage of us. When bad actors exist, we have every right to use our power to protect our interests.
March 12, 2018 Weekly Columns
For decades, the United States has enjoyed uncontested and dominant military superiority. But just as we have come to depend on a rules-based security order, there are countries working to turn the tide and upend it. Global stability is in question with a rising China and a resurgent Russia, and provocative actions sponsored by North Korea and Iran. 
 
February 6, 2018 Weekly Columns
After his first year in the White House, President Trump and his Administration have much of which to be proud. Their accomplishments have delivered actual results, and the country is continuing to reap the benefits of those changes. During his first State of the Union speech, the President reinforced those achievements – many of which will certainly be remembered as signature accomplishments of his Presidency. Looking forward, he outlined an optimistic future for our nation, with a strong legislative agenda for the next year.
 
January 30, 2018 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the House of Representatives passed the Department of Defense Appropriations funding legislation for Fiscal Year 2018.
January 20, 2018 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the Senate failed to pass the continuing resolution legislation that would continue government operations and funding, the Children’s Health Insurance Program funding and military funding.

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