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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

March 6, 2017 Weekly Columns
President Trump was elected in no small degree based on the economic and national security anxieties facing millions of working class Americans. He correctly identified with, and gave voice to, their anger and their frustration. Consequently, the tone of his campaign and the early days of his presidency were not exactly upbeat in tone. However, his Joint Address to Congress last week was a sharp and welcome change.
February 27, 2017 Weekly Columns
For the past sixteen years the United States military has been engaged in several conflicts, primarily, but not exclusively, in the Middle East. It’s not an exaggeration to say the United States has been in a state of war since the attacks of September 11. And yet, we have been trying to combat growing threats of new kinds of terrorism worldwide without a formal authorization of military force since 2003. With the rise of groups like ISIS, we should continue that precedent so that we can combat our enemies with full force.
February 21, 2017 Weekly Columns
There are a number of initiatives and policy questions to address in the first one hundred days of a new administration. However, the defense of our nation is among the first and most important of government’s duties, and the state of Oklahoma rightly takes tremendous pride in preparing the military for any fight so that we may all live in peace. 
 
February 14, 2017 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after he introduced legislation to prohibit the federal employee hiring freeze from being applied to certain Department of Defense (DoD) civilian employees, and a measure to ensure work at Tinker Air Force Base and McAlester Ammunition Plant can continue if there is a lapse in federal funding.
January 30, 2017 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after President Donald Trump signed an executive order temporarily restricting persons entering the United States from seven nations: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan.
January 18, 2017 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after President Obama commuted the sentence for Chelsea Manning.
December 27, 2016 Weekly Columns
This past year was one of great change for America. After eight years of President Obama, the American people elected perhaps the most unorthodox candidate in our nation’s history. The nominating process for both parties was unlike any we have ever seen. The Democrats nearly nominated a self proclaimed Socialist before settling on the establishment front runner, Hillary Clinton. And the Republicans nominated a candidate who had never sought or held elected office before.
December 20, 2016 Weekly Columns

When the 114th Congress began its session in January of 2015, many Americans had concerns about the direction of our nation, and the job approval of their Congressional leaders was appropriately low. After so many years of onerous executive overreach, House Republicans faced many challenges in the fight to block President Obama’s liberal agenda. There were many times that House Republicans have come close to making common sense conservative progress, only to be shot down by the president’s veto pen.

December 13, 2016 Weekly Columns
In Article I, section 7, clause 1 of the United States Constitution, our Founding Fathers laid out the framework for the Congressional “Power of the Purse.” Congress has the fundamental responsibility for raising revenue and appropriating spending. It has done so for more than two centuries, but the job has become more complicated than need be in recent decades. Over the past several years, passing a budget and funding the government has grown more difficult, and has even resulted in government shutdowns.
December 8, 2016 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the passage of the short-term Further Continuing and Security Assistance Appropriations Act, 2017 (Continuing Resolution), H.R. 2028, which passed by a vote of 326-96.

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