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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

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.
January 17, 2018 Weekly Columns
This week, the House will once again consider another funding measure to keep the government running and to avoid the possibility of a government shutdown. This spending bill will be the fourth Fiscal Year 2017 continuing resolution that the House has taken up to fund federal agencies, the military and a wide range of discretionary programs. Unfortunately, this means that the federal government is going to continue to run on funding levels that were set more than a year ago.
January 11, 2018 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the House passed S. 139, the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act.
January 1, 2018 Weekly Columns
When the year 2017 began, Congress opened the new Congressional Session with the Trump Administration to “Make America Great Again.” As the year comes to a close, Congress and the Trump Administration can be proud of what they have accomplished together. Under its first year with President Trump, Congress has accomplished many of its legislative goals, and the President has fulfilled a number of his campaign promises. Although there is much work to be done in the coming year, we can reflect on this year’s legislative accomplishments with a sense of success.
November 27, 2017 Weekly Columns
In late 1987, a Korean Air flight traveling from Seoul, South Korea to Baghdad, Iraq, was bombed by North Korean agents killing all 115 people on board. This event, evidence of clear terrorist motives, prompted the Reagan Administration to designate North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism.
November 14, 2017 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04), a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Conference Report for H.R. 2810, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2018.
October 30, 2017 Weekly Columns
The United States is fortunate to have the world’s strongest and most capable military force. Each day, thousands of men and women in uniform put their lives on the line to protect our nation and our fundamental freedoms. Beyond our own borders, they are working all over the world to ensure our country remains secure on the international stage. And we were all saddened and shocked to hear of the deaths of four U.S Army Special Operations soldiers killed in Niger earlier this month.
October 23, 2017 Weekly Columns
For decades, the United States has had a contentious and adversarial relationship with the dangerous, theocratic regime of Iran. It has been a nation well known for funding, training and harboring terrorists. Often times, the United States has been the target of such activity. Since 1984, Iran has been a designated state sponsor of terror and remains so. With clear evidence that Iran’s nuclear ambitions are disingenuous and threatening, it is imperative that the U.S. keeps the country accountable and devoid of dangerous nuclear weapon.
 

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