Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, secured $100 million for construction at Oklahoma military bases in the defense bill approved last week by the committee.
According to Inhofe, the bill includes about $71 million for construction and maintenance of hangars, fuel distribution facilities and squadron operations at Tinker.
Altus Air Force Base, which was recently named the site for the Formal Training Unit for the KC-46A refueling tanker, will get $33 million for facilities maintenance and construction projects, Inhofe’s office said.
Inhofe has served on the committee for almost two decades, but the bill passed last week was the first he worked on as the panel’s top Republican.
When the bill goes before the full Senate, Inhofe plans to offer an amendment to cancel the automatic budget cuts for the Defense Department that have led to furloughs, a reduction in pilot training and maintentance and other money-saving measures.
Other provisions sponsored or supported by Inhofe:
_ Adding language that provides $47.3 million to fund modernization of the avionics of all C-130H aircraft. He also supported language requiring the Secretary of the Air Force to consider upgrades to legacy C-130H aircraft that would meet the fuel economy goals of the Air Force and ensure that the upgrades to the C-130H fleet are made in a manner that is proportional to the number of C-130H aircraft in the force. These enhancements will allow companies such as Boeing in Oklahoma City to compete for contracts to ensure the long-term sustainability and operational capability of the C-130H fleet.
_ Adding language urging the Air Force Weather to focus modernization efforts on those capabilities required to collect, analyze, predict, tailor, and integrate accurate, timely, and relevant weather data for the warfighter. This amendment would allow groups and universities such as the University of Oklahoma to assist the Air Force in creating modernized meteorological and weather analysis training programs that will improve our warfighting capabilities.
“OU is encouraged by the language creating a Meteorological and Weather Analysis Training Program,” said Berrien Moore, OU vice president for Weather and Climate Programs and director, the National Weather Center.
_ Language that would require the Secretary of the Air Force to produce a report on the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) to assess certain aspects of the current CAP aircraft program to include fleet size, mission requirements and operating locations in order to address the drastic cuts to the program. This amendment will allow the Oklahoma Civil Air Patrol to ensure it has adequate resources to carry out its operations to include search and rescue, counterdrug, disaster relief, humanitarian services, and support to the Air Force.
“Oklahoma has a rich aviation history and large aviation industry,” said Joe Cavett, Commander of the Oklahoma Wing, Civil Air Patrol. “We are fortunate to have Senator Inhofe in Washington defending the interests of our state and general aviation across the nation.”
_ Language urging the Department of Defense to provide funding for the Troops-to-Teachers Program.
“The University of Central Oklahoma applauds Senator Inhofe for his national leadership on the Troops to Teachers initiative,” said President of the University of Central Oklahoma Don Betz. “This meshes so well between the needs of veterans, their spouses, children, and America’s and Oklahoma’s demands for more teachers. Veterans and their families have demonstrated their exceptional commitment to placing the needs of others before themselves through their steadfast dedication to public service. This makes them ideal candidates to serve as teachers, mentors and role models to young people.
_ Authorizing the Department of Defense to obligate up to $90 million to provide logistical support to the national military forces of Uganda to mitigate or eliminate the threat posed by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and bring an end to the murderous campaign of LRA leader Joseph Kony, who has killed thousands, displaced over 1 million and kidnapped more than 30,000 children.
Michael Poffenberger with The Resolve organization said, “Ongoing US support for efforts to stop Joseph Kony’s crimes against civilians has helped fracture the LRA, nab one of Kony’s top deputies, and reduced the LRA’s destabilizing attacks. The funds in this year’s Senate defense authorization bill championed by Senator Inhofe will ensure this progress continues, so that this human rights crisis can finally be ended.”