WASHINGTON — Though President Barack Obama and Pentagon leaders outlined a strategy two weeks ago to begin shrinking the U.S. military, Congress controls the purse strings and ultimately will determine how to allocate Defense Department funds.
Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, will be one of the lawmakers on the front lines. He is a member of the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees military spending.
Cole, now serving his fifth term, will approach the task in 2012 with the nation's security in mind, but he also will have some home-state interests at heart: Oklahoma's two largest military installations, Tinker Air Force Base and Fort Sill, are in his congressional district.
Cole said he wants troop levels to remain above those in place before 9/11, and will focus on “the comprehensive efforts to repair, replace and recapitalize equipment affected by the harsh environment of war.”
Moreover, he said he would work to ensure National Guard and Reserve members receive training and equipment comparable to those of active duty service members.