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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

October 28, 2016 Press Release
Norman, OK – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the FBI announced that it will reopen its investigation into Secretary Hilary Clinton’s use of an email server. Previously, the FBI had stated that it would not take any action against Secretary Clinton after its first investigation.
 
October 25, 2016 Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the Pentagon demanded the California National Guard members repay decades-old reenlistment bonuses. Additionally, it has been reported that while this controversy is currently only impacting California National Guardsmen, It could potentially apply to Guardsmen throughout the country.

October 17, 2016 Weekly Columns
Our nation has been fortunate in the past to have strong leaders who have recognized the threat posed by an aggressive Russia.  Virtually every president since Harry Truman has known that maintaining a strong national defense and a healthy skepticism of the former Soviet Union was our highest national security priority. But since this Administration has taken office, Russia has taken full advantage of the weak foreign policy of President Obama.
September 19, 2016 Weekly Columns
Even before he was elected President, Barack Obama had advocated the closure of Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp.  Guantanamo is a U.S.
September 12, 2016 Weekly Columns
One of the preeminent responsibilities of Congress, demonstrated by its inclusion in the Preamble to the Constitution, is to provide for the common defense. With that in mind, both Congress and the President have historically made maintaining a strong military a priority. We must always ensure that our men and women in uniform always have the best resources at their disposal. The day that Congress fails to meet the needs of our military is the day that we put our nation’s security and well-being at risk.
 
August 29, 2016 Weekly Columns
It has been a longstanding policy of the United States that we will not negotiate with terrorists and we will not pay ransom money to free hostages. The reasons for this policy are obvious; paying ransoms incentivizes the taking of more hostages. U.S. presidents for decades have recognized this policy and adhered to it - until this president.
 
August 15, 2016 Weekly Columns
Every day, our nation faces new threats from enemies at home and abroad, and we rely on our government to identify and deter these threats before they come to fruition. How strongly we respond to these threats is up to our nation’s leaders - particularly our Commander in Chief. The past fifteen years have seen some of the most unbelievable acts of terror, and some of the biggest changes to our country’s national defense and foreign policy in modern history.
July 11, 2016 Weekly Columns
As Americans, our Constitution and Bill of Rights guarantee us certain unalienable rights that are the foundation of a free society. Common sense dictates, however, that individuals who perpetrate acts of terror against their fellow citizens must necessarily forfeit some of those rights.  But we as a society should be very hesitant to encroach on any American’s constitutional rights simply because their name shows up on some list of suspected wrongdoers.
 
July 6, 2016 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the FBI announced that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will not be charged due to her mishandling of classified material on a private server.
 
June 28, 2016 Press Release
Norman, OK – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the Senate failed to pass H.R. 2577, the conference report directed at funding Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies, as well the Zika Response and Preparedness Act. This legislation would fund continuing military infrastructure projects and programs, and would include funding for confronting the Zika virus through Fiscal Year 2017.
 

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