Cole Comments on Pentagon Budget Cuts
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement in response to comments by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta regarding Pentagon budget cuts and potential base closures:
"The Department of Defense is working within strict budget constraints outlined by the administration and Congress. However, balancing our force structure and ensuring that troop readiness is preserved in the current budget environment is paramount. Any reviews or reductions of our nation’s military infrastructure must be fair and free from political influence, and the cost of reducing infrastructure and realigning resources must not exceed the savings initially envisioned.
"Moreover, it’s far from certain that Congress will agree to another round of BRAC. A strong argument can be made that the current base structure, which was a result of the last round of BRAC in 2005, was able to support rapidly expanding troop levels for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. While troop levels continue to draw down in the Middle East, the existing infrastructure and support in the United States should remain in case of future conflicts.
"I believe that Ft. Sill and Tinker Air Force Base can withstand a comprehensive review of their infrastructure, capabilities and capacity to complete their missions, during both war and peacetime. They will remain an integral part of our nation’s defense."