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Cole Statement on Passage of the Conference Report to NDAA for Fiscal Year 2018

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. The bill authorizes $626.4 billion in base funding and includes $26.4 billion more than the President’s initial budget request for our nation’s military personnel, readiness, capability and operations. Furthermore, the bill authorizes an additional $65.7 billion in the Overseas Contingency Operations fund (OCO). When factoring in $7.5 billion for mandatory defense spending, a total of $699.6 billion is authorized to be appropriated. 
Each year, the passage of NDAA ensures that the military is trained and equipped to defend the United States, which includes maintenance and improvement of defense resources. The legislation passed today invests in those resources for confronting growing threats abroad, increases troop levels and rebuilds parts of the Armed Forces that have faced eight years of constrained budgets and a high-operational temp. The NDAA provides for a 2.4 percent pay raise for service members. It also improves the health and retirement benefits for military personnel, retirees and their families and prohibits any reduction of inpatient care for military Medical Treatment facilities locations outside the U.S.
This is the third year of foundational acquisition reform passed by the House, which is intended to field technology and improve our military’s warfighting capabilities. Of particular importance are provisions which will alter how sustainment work is outsourced to commercial contractors. 
“I support the unique and vital role in the maintenance, repair and overhaul of military equipment,” said Cole. “Military depots are the backbone of the organic industrial base and are our nation’s insurance policy against the tides of economic uncertainty, changes in the defense industry, and wartime demands. This is particularly true when we see the consequences of years of under-funding and high operational tempo and how it has impacted our military equipment and capabilities. Therefore, I will continue to underscore the value of military core statutes and the longstanding balance of workload between military depots and the private sector.
“I am pleased that the House has renewed its commitment to a robust and capable military through passage of the National Defense Authorization Act. Just as our military service members answer the call to defend the United States, so too should Americans always prioritize the funding they need to be successful in whatever mission they are tasked.
“While this is a good start, Congress and the Administration will need to come to a spending agreement so that these programs can be fully funded. That is a goal we are working hard to achieve on the Appropriations Committee.
“Whether it’s countering ISIS and other terrorist activities around the world, or significantly increasing resources to counter Russian aggression through conventional and unconventional warfare methods in Europe, there are very real fights that won’t result in peace without American assistance and resolve.”