Cole applauds passage of FY23 NDAA

December 12, 2022

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04), member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, released a statement, Dec. 8, after the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that reflects the bipartisan, bicameral agreement reached on the James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2023.

With Cole’s support, the bill passed the House Dec. 8, by a vote of 350-80.

"The legislation authorizes funding for our nation’s military personnel, readiness and operations, research, procurement and includes provisions that support the missions at Tinker Air Force Base in Midwest City and Fort Sill in Lawton, which are both located in the Fourth District of Oklahoma. Critical to the success of our military, this legislation also includes $45 billion more in authorized defense spending than President Joe Biden requested in his budget," Cole said.

“This NDAA reflects a strong commitment to our men and women in uniform and our national security, and I am proud that lawmakers finally came together to send this important legislation to the president’s desk,” said Cole. “By authorizing $858 billion for Department of Defense, military construction and energy programs, this rightly calls for the resources needed to rebuild our military might to keep pace with the unprecedented Chinese military expansion and modernization. This includes appropriately constraining the president’s proposed drawdown of E-3 AWACS aircraft before its more modern replacement, the E-7, is ready, made possible by the collective work of Oklahoma’s congressional delegation. To pair with this policy approach, I am also working to ensure funds are final in the fiscal year 2023 defense appropriations to accelerate the procurement and fielding of the new, upgraded platform, the E-7, to ensure a smooth and timely transition.

“The funding authorized by this NDAA importantly keeps up with and counteracts the damaging impact our nation’s runaway 40-year high inflation has had on military readiness, Department of Defense buying power and service members and their families. Not only does this include a 4.6 percent pay raise for service members, but it also allows additional funds for skyrocketing costs of housing, food and necessities at military commissaries, fuel and construction equipment, materials and labor.

“I am fully supportive of this bill’s commitment to countering our adversaries through military modernization. It focuses our investment on modern weapon systems capable of penetrating denied operating environments such as China, establishes a National Hypersonic Initiative to accelerate the development of hypersonic missiles and keep pace with Chinese and Russian programs and accelerates funding for the modernization of our nuclear triad infrastructure upgrades and plutonium pit and high explosives production. It also helps to deter Chinese aggression and win the fight on future battlefields by focusing on investment on the research, development and procurement of modernized capabilities.

Cole said the NDAA ensures that military and industrial bases are ready to face any challenge, by allowing for military construction and improvements to military family housing projects in the U.S. and around the world. It also codifies the rapid acquisition authority to procure and sustain technologies needed to meet urgent operational requirements.

He said this ensures having personnel needed to fight America's adversaries. He also noted that it allows the continuance of important projects by rescinding the COVID-19 vaccine mandate on all active duty and reserve service members and ends separations for failure to take the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Additionally, this NDAA provides several important oversight tools to Americans and lawmakers. It requires quarterly briefings to Congress on Department of Defense support for the Department of Homeland Security at the southern border and a report on National Guard efforts to counter the flow of narcotics, human trafficking and transnational criminal organizations. It also prohibits the Secretary of Defense from modifying the scope of medical care at military medical treatment facilities without first notifying Congress and requires the Department of Defense, Department of State and USAID Inspectors General to regularly carry out comprehensive reviews and audits of assistance provided to Ukraine. Moreover, it reinforces the rights of parents of children attending Department of Defense schools to review curriculum, instructional materials and disciplinary policies.

Cole expressed thanks to Sen. Jim Inhofe for his work accomplished in 2022, in crafting the legislation, and during his entire tenure as United States Senator and top Republican on the Senate Armed Service Committee.

“It has been an honor to work with this fierce protector of defense issues over the years and observe his relentless advocacy on behalf of America and Oklahoma’s defense priorities, which has certainly put our country in a better place," Cole said.