AFGHANISTAN MISSION: U.S. Senator James Inhofe, General James L. Jones (SACEUR) and Ms. Karen Tandy (DEA Administrator) answer questions at a press conference at Bagram, Afghanistan on 28 October 2006.
Photo by DAN R. WILSON
Last September, the United States Senate approved a major funding bill that includes millions of dollars for a number of Oklahoma projects. U.S. Sen. James Inhoff, R–Okla., voted to pass it. The bill passed by a 78-12 vote. Inhofe noted the provisions that increase funding for the military as well as those designed to increase energy production.
Citing the Oklahoma projects, he called the bill a huge victory for Tulsa and northeastern Oklahoma. Those projects include:
$67 million for an Armed Forces Reserve Center in Broken Arrow.
$23 million for an Armed Forces Reserve Center in Muskogee.
$2.5 million for the University of Tulsa’s Institute for Information Security.
$14.8 million for a program to stimulate research at state universities and build on efforts in states that traditionally have received the least research funding.
Sen. Inhofe’s number one priority as a United States Senator has been and continues to be providing for America’s national defense. As a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. Inhofe has been a tireless champion of Oklahoma’s troops, wounded warriors and their families. He was a leader in protecting and even expanding Oklahoma’s military installations during recent Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) rounds.
Sen. Inhofe has consistently confirmed his dedication to America’s national security and those who defend the nation’s freedom and values: secured funding in Defense Authorization and Appropriations Bills for the best equipment and training for our men and women in uniform; fought to fully fund the Army’s Future Combat Systems to include the first Manned Ground Vehicle, the Non Line of Sight Cannon, being integrated at Elgin, Okla.; traveled to war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan to gain first-hand knowledge of the situation on the ground; and regularly visits with active troops, veterans and their families to ensure they are receiving the best possible care and protection. In short, Sen. Inhofe continues to be one of the strongest supporters of Oklahoma’s commitment to national defense and excelling military industry.
The following are short summaries of Sen. Inhofe’s contributions to Oklahoma’s participation in the nation’s defense effort.
BRAC: All of Oklahoma’s military installations benefited not only during the latest Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round but during every BRAC round, due to Sen. Inhofe’s strong support in Congress.
Ft. Sill: Sen. Inhofe has been one of the greatest supporters of the Army’s Future Combat Systems (FCS) and fully funded the cornerstone of Army transformation and modernization. He has also worked to bring the integration of the Army’s next generation cannon, the NLOS-C, to Elgin, Oklahoma where it will be integrated and tested next door on Ft Sill’s Range and operated at Ft. Sill, the home of Field Artillery.
Tinker: Sen. Inhofe has long said, “Investing in Tinker Air Force Base is an investment in Oklahoma’s future.” Sen. Inhofe helped facilitate the partnership between Tinker and GM that led to the Air Force signing a lease with the facility that will enable the base to expand and allow companies to use the space for projects that will aid the military and community. He’s also pushed for a multi-year contract for the procurement of the Air Force’s F-22 Raptors, which is saving the military and taxpayers money, and will directly benefit Tinker Air Force Base, as the Air Logistics Center will be the primary hub for major maintenance operations for the F-22’s engines.
Altus AFB: Primarily due to Sen. Inhofe’s strong support, both Altus and Tinker Air Force Bases will play a key role in operating, training and maintaining the KC-X. Sen. Inhofe was one of the earliest proponents of recapitalizing our fleet of aging tankers, and has since worked tirelessly to ensure that our military acquires the right tanker.
GITMO: When President Obama signed the executive order to close Guantanamo Bay, Sen. Inhofe was the first to voice his opposition and warn against the severe repercussions it could have to national security. As someone who has visited the camp three times since 9/11, Sen. Inhofe has set the record straight on its vital function in fighting terrorism and the exceptional standards in which the detainees are held. Sen. Inhofe is leading the fight in the Senate to prevent the transfer of Gitmo anywhere in the U.S. by introducing legislation: S.370.
Oklahoma National Guard and Reserve:
Sen. Inhofe says, “These citizen-soldiers and airmen are the backbone of our state, and have answered the call to duty in defense of our nation numerous times. Today over 60 Airmen and over 1,000 Soldiers of the Oklahoma National Guard are currently deployed in the CENTCOM AOR. One of the largest units deployed is the 45th Fires Brigade, which is conducting base security and convoy security in Iraq and Kuwait. These men and women in uniform from Oklahoma are some of the best in the nation and we owe them and their families our gratitude and support.”
Armed Forces Reserve Centers (AFRCs)
Sen. Inhofe has been instrumental in ensuring that Armed Forces Reserve Centers were fully funded and built on time. These facilities will enhance the Guard and Reserve centers in Oklahoma.
•The centers are all part of a BRAC requirement made in 2005 that will lead to the closing of nearly 100 older armories across the U.S.
•AFRCs are state of the art facilities strategically located across the state to accommodate multi-service and multi-component unit equipment storage, offices and mobilization space for our Guard and Reserve.
•Oklahoma is among the first states in the nation to begin construction on the reserve centers.
•Consolidation of Armed Forces Reserve Centers in Oklahoma: 56 armories consolidated into 31 locations which includes construction of seven modern, multi-component centers (AFRCs)
• Inhofe on Supporting the Military
1.Sen. Inhofe was a co-sponsor of the Montgomery G.I. Bill Educational Assistance Transferability Act of 2008, joining Sen. Hutchison (R-TX) in expanding the eligibility of military members to transfer earned G.I. Bill educational assistance funds to their spouses and children.
2.Sen. Inhofe supported the 2008 War Supplemental which modernized the outdated Montgomery GI Bill: Provided $62.8 billion over 11 years and was applied to anyone who served the required period of active duty since Sept. 11, 2001. Importantly, this legislation expanded GI Bill benefits to include a transferability provision which Sen. Inhofe worked to include, allowing troops to transfer GI benefits to spouses and children and providing a significant retention incentive to these troops.
3.“Everywhere I go, from the bases in Oklahoma to the streets of Baghdad, National Guardsman, Reservists, and Active duty Marines, Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen talk about transferability of benefits. The ability to transfer their GI Bill benefit to their spouses and children is the number one issue they express to me. We must continue to push for legislation that will provide important benefits to strengthen the recruitment and retention goals of our military.”