Inhofe Praises Passage of FY’16 NDAA

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today voted in favor of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2016. The legislation passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 270 to 156 on Thursday and the Senate by a vote of 70 to 27, sending the bill to the president for his signature.

“I applaud Congress for passing the National Defense Authorization Act for the 54th consecutive year. This vital piece of legislation sets the course for our national security and provides for our nation’s nearly 2.1 million all volunteer force and their families,” said Inhofe. “While many Democrats voted against the NDAA due to the increase in the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account, this funding was needed in order for our nation’s military to meet basic readiness needs. The president is also threatening to veto the bill over OCO spending, and should he follow through, it would have a devastating impact on our ability to defend this nation and its citizens. In the past six years, roughly $1 trillion in defense cuts have been put into motion under the leadership of President Obama, yet in the past few years our nation has increased its contingency operations around the globe. This coupled with the need to reset military equipment worn down by over two decades of combat operations, it became necessary to increase OCO funds in order to ensure our men and women in uniform have the training and resources needed to effectively execute current and future operations.

“The authorizations and spending priorities contained in this bill are critical to our national security and support the DOD’s resource requirements.  By signing this bill and funding our national security, the president has an opportunity to signal to our allies and those who would oppose us that the United States is not disengaging from the world and stands ready to lead.”

The following are provisions Inhofe authored or supported, many of which support the military presence in Oklahoma:

Base Realignment and Closure Prohibition

Inhofe supported language that makes clear that nothing in the FY’16 NDAA shall be construed to authorize a Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round next year. Inhofe believes that the United States has reduced force capability to an unacceptable level, and that it should not be brought down any further in the near term. He also recognizes that our national security has an immediate fiscal crisis and the defense community should not bear the near-term costs of a BRAC round in this tough economic climate for savings that will not be realized for another 20 years.

“Once again Senator Inhofe has helped keep the government from making shortsighted mistakes in fiscal policy.  His support to prevent the congress from authorizing another BRAC round at this time is exactly the right thing to do. Thank you Jim Inhofe,” said Mike Cooper, chairman of Oklahoma Strategic Military Planning Commission and president of the Association of Defense Communities.

Commissaries

The final bill did not include language from the Senate’s NDAA that would have begun the privatization of commissaries, thereby preserving Inhofe’s amendment that was adopted on the Senate floor. The conference report instead requires the Department of Defense (DOD) to submit a plan for commissary and exchange systems to become budget neutral by 2018. Congress must do its due diligence to understand and assess how changes to our commissaries will impact our servicemembers and the promise our country made to take care of them and their families.

“The commissary is a vital part of military compensation providing a significant benefit to military families. MOAA is grateful for Senator Inhofe’s leadership in stopping privatization of the commissary system. To conduct a privatization pilot with without proper assessment could have resulted in unintended consequences, putting this highly valued benefit at risk.  We look forward to continuing to work with him to protect this vital benefit,” said Vice Adm. Norb Ryan  (USN Ret.), president of the Military Officers Association of America.

Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

The final bill prohibits transferring Gitmo detainees to the United States through Dec. 31, 2016, and tightens restrictions on transferring Gitmo detainees to certain foreign countries, language Inhofe strongly supported.  It also includes language that prevents the closure of Gitmo through Dec. 31, 2016, rejecting Senate language that would have allowed the facility to be closed following Congressional approval of a plan. When the NDAA was on the Senate floor in June, Inhofe filed two amendments that would have prevented individuals being detained at Gitmo from being transferred to the United States. Neither were brought up for a vote, but Inhofe successfully fought to remove the Senate language during conference.

Retaining the AWACS, JSTARS and EC-130H Compass Call

E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS), Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) and the EC-130H Compass Call have been under constant, heavy demand, supporting overseas contingency operations as well as homeland defense missions. Inhofe successfully included language in the final bill that prohibits for two years the Air Force from retiring or preparing to retire any AWACS, JSTARS or EC-130H Compass Call aircraft until their specific follow-on replacement aircraft program enters low-rate initial production.

“The E-3A, Sentry, performs a critical mission essential to the security of the United States.  It is a low density-high demand system that provides time sensitive air battle information to the warfighter to guarantee superiority in the air battle.  Because it is a small fleet, it is absolutely critical to maintain fleet size--not retiring any part of the fleet until its replacement is ready for service.  This Tinker based system is also a critical element of the economic portfolio for not only Oklahoma City but the entire State.  We absolutely support the initiative in the NDAA to maintain the current fleet size,” said Randy Young, director of Military Aviation and Aerospace for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber and the Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce. 

Paladin Integrated Management (PIM)

The Paladin Integrated Management (PIM) is necessary to the modernization of the Paladin Self-Propelled Howitzer and the U.S. artillery force. Inhofe successfully supported legislation in the final bill that authorized full funding at $273.9 million to acquire 30 new PIMs.

The 30 Paladin (PIM) Howitzers this bill provides is great for Elgin, the Army and Fort Sill.  Good work Senator Jim Inhofe.  He not only saved this program from the Crusader cancelation 13 years ago, but he is still looking out for the Army twelve years later. We are so lucky to have him up there,” said Bill Burgess, civilian assistant to the Secretary of the Army.

KC-46A Procurement and Basing

The KC-46A will replace our aging KC-135 tanker aircraft. Inhofe supported legislation that fully funds the KC-46 program for $2.7 billion. Altus Air Force Base will begin receiving the first of four FY16 aircraft in Aug 2016.

“The KC-46 is critical to our national security. It is a critical enabler both for defense of our homeland as well as projecting power around the globe. Like the C-17 and KC-135, every KC-46 aircrew will be trained at Altus and we are ready to start receiving KC-46s starting next May. Senator Inhofe’s leadership in the Senate and on the Senate Armed Services Committee has been the driving force to ensure this aircraft is funded and remains on schedule,” said Dr. Joe Leverett, chairman of the Altus Military Affairs Committee.

Increasing troop safety on DOD installations

On July 22, Inhofe sent a letter to SASC leadership requesting a hearing on what DOD is doing to review and/or take action regarding force protection of its service members and their families on DOD installations. On Aug. 5, Inhofe introduced the Enhancing Security for Military Personnel Act (S.1988) to instruct the DOD to submit to Congress a plan to enhance security of military personnel at DOD installations and implement the plan within 90 days after the bill’s enactment. The final NDAA bill includes language that directs the Pentagon to put in place guidelines for commanders to authorize troops to carry firearms on DOD installations, if deemed necessary for personal or force-protection measure.

“We are very appreciative of Senator Inhofe including in the NDAA language a requirement for DOD to develop a plan to enhance security for the men and women of the armed forces that have committed to protecting and serving our nation. Our heroic men and women who graciously volunteer to serve and defend our nation in the United States Armed Forces deserve our best efforts to protect them and their family,” saidBrig. Gen. Michael C. Thompson, Assistant Adjutant General, Oklahoma National Guard/Commissioner & Cabinet Secretary, Oklahoma Dept. of Public Safety.

Missile Defense

The final bill accelerates the development of a next-generation missile defense interceptor and a Multiple-object Kill Vehicle. More importantly, it authorizes $30 million for planning and design of a critically needed East Coast missile defense site. Countries around the world, including Iran and North Korea, are developing ballistic missiles with increased range, accuracy and sophistication.  This bill takes an important step towards increasing the capability of the United States to defend itself against a ballistic missile attack.

“Today and in the immediate future, the ballistic missile threats to our nation have superseded our limited missile defense capability in numbers and sophistication. Both Iran and North Korea are close to having miniaturized multiple re-entry warheads on their ballistic missiles. Our Missile Defense Systems today cannot adequately defend the United States of America against multiple warheads on single long range ballistic missiles. Investment has to be made now in Multiple Object Kill Vehicle technology and increasing more space and time for more intercept opportunities in the protection of our nation. We as a nation must move beyond a limited missile defense policy that has been out grown and begin to evolve our missile defense system to revolutionary reduce our cost of intercept and have credible deterrent missile defense systems against limited near peer complex threat capability,” said Riki M. Ellison, chairman & founder of Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance.

Oklahoman Military Construction (MILCON)

The final bill authorizes $56 million to Fort Sill for phase two of the reception barrack’s complex and an additional $13.4 million for a training support facility.  Altus Air Force Base will receive $18 million for a 120-room dormitory and $10.4 million for its KC-46A fuel cell maintenance hangar. Tinker Air Force Base will receive $37 million for a KC-46 Depot Maintenance Dock and another $12.9 million for a new air traffic control tower.  Will Rogers World Airport will receive $7.6 million as we continue the MC-12 bed-down with the National Guard.

This committee action supported by Senator Inhofe funds two extremely important projects for Tinker.  The tower that costs $12.9M has been needed for a very long time.  It is a safety issue.  I am so glad we are finally getting that.  The other project for the KC-46A fuel cell maintenance hangar is all about the new mission Tinker just secured to maintain the KC-46A.  This is great news for Tinker,” said Gary Pence, senior business development manager of Military & Aerospace for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber.

I am excited for the SASCs expeditious approval of the President’s FY16 budget. The primary mission of the MC-12 is to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) support directly to the ground forces serving abroad.  To reach full operating capability for our new role, it is imperative that adequately sized and properly configured facilities are secured. The $7.6 million in military construction for the ISR bed down meets this requirement. Oklahoma National Guard airman will be equipped with the vital resources necessary to provide combat ready forces to support special operations around the globe,” said Col. Devin Wooden, 137th Commander, Will Rogers Air National Guard Base.

Continued support for diagnosis and treatment of TBI

Over the past two decades, our service men and women have been injured in combat areas by Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), other military explosive devices and by head impacts leading to mild and moderate concussions, which have led to both physical and mental brain injuries. These injuries are disabling, as they may induce short term memory loss, severe headaches, depression, loss of cognitive function, loss of impulse control, anger and – in extreme cases – suicide. Inhofe supported a report provision which stated that the committee remains committed to continue funding for diagnosis and treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) to include potential alternative, evidence-based methods of treatments.

“On behalf of all veterans who suffer from Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress, our sincere thanks to Senator Inhofe for his continued focus on caring for our wounded warriors and their families.  We owe our wound warriors no less than every chance to heal both mind and body. This includes alternative treatments such as hyperbaric oxygen treatment (HBOT), which has shown evidence of success in the continued treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress. From a nation that owes so much to the warriors who have paid such a great price, their families and their loved ones deserve the healing of HBOT,” said Maj. Gen. (ret) Rita Aragon, Oklahoma Military and Veterans Affairs.

Religious freedom and chaplains

Our military service men and women have the constitutional right to express and exercise their religious beliefs. This is particularly true for military chaplains. Established by George Washington in 1775, the chaplaincy fills many vital roles in the military that could not be accomplished by other means, including offering a unique and inherently religious perspective on life and death issues. During consideration of the FY’15 NDAA, Congress again affirmed the spiritual leadership chaplains provide to service members as well as their role in facilitating the free exercise of religion. In the FY’16 NDAA, Inhofe supported a report provision that would preserve this military culture and protect the freedom of expression and religion for military chaplains.

“The First Amendment guarantees religious freedom for every American—including military chaplains. The 2016 National Defense Authorization Act affirms the work of chaplains to ensure that every service member has the same religious liberty that they volunteer to defend and are willing to die for. With the strain of prolonged overseas conflict, Chaplains are needed now more than ever to make sure our service members receive all the help they need, especially those who are struggling against PTSD or thoughts to end their own lives.  I commend the work of the Senate and House in providing a strong message about the role of chaplains in maintaining good order and discipline among service members and the importance of ensuring religious liberty for those who serve,” said Dr. Ron Crews, CH (COL) USAR Retired, executive director of Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty.

Tulsa, Oklahoma VA Clinic

Many Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) medical facilities around the country are old and in need of desperate repair or replacement in order to provide our veterans the care and services they deserve. Tulsa’s VA clinic is one of the worst in the country.  Last year, Congress passed a comprehensive VA reform bill that included funding to lease a new clinic in Tulsa. In the FY’16 NDAA, Inhofe successfully included language in the final bill that amended onerous restrictions placed on procuring a new lease for the clinic. This language will ensure Oklahoma veterans get a new, more-capable clinic in Tulsa and before 2020, when the current clinic would be forced to close because it does not meet current building requirements.

“A new VA outpatient clinic is desperately needed in Tulsa.  The current clinic is inadequate and the lease expires in 2020.  If a new clinic is not available when the Tulsa clinic’s lease expires, the VA will have a care giving disaster. The Muskogee Medical Center cannot absorb the patient load nor can the civilian sector handle such an overflow.  Action needs to be taken now to plan for a smooth and orderly transition of patient care,” said Felix Peterson, chairman of the Oklahoma Veterans Council.

Assistance to Ukraine

Last year, Congress authorized $350 million in defense aid to be provided to Ukraine from 2015-2017. Additionally, Congress authorized $1 billion in OCO funding for the European Reassurance Initiative, of which no less than $75 million was to be used for activities and assistance to support Ukraine. However, the president has refused to use any of the funding to provide lethal assistance to Ukraine. To address this, Inhofe authored S. 452, the Defense of Ukraine Act of 2015, which provides clear authorization to the president to provide lethal assistance to Ukraine to assist in its defense against Russia. This year’s NDAA conference report provides an additional $300 million in aid to Ukraine for FY’16, of which $50 million must be used for lethal assistance.

Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA)

In 2009, Inhofe led a successful congressional effort to pass the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act, which has seen the successful apprehension of four of the LRA's top leaders. Even though LRA leadership has been significantly dismantled since then, Inhofe continues to support operations to ensure their defeat and was instrumental in securing $17 million this year and continued support for counter-LRA operations in this year’s NDAA.

“The LRA has been attacking innocent civilians for far too long,” said Paul Ronan, Director of The Resolve LRA Crisis Initiative. “US support to regional operations is essential to protecting civilians and bringing Kony to justice,” said Paul Ronan, director of The Resolve LRA Crisis Initiative.

C-130H Engine and Propulsion System Modernization Programs

Inhofe supported language in the final bill that fully funds the C-130H engine and propulsion system modernization at $64.2 million. These engine modifications lowers fuel consumption, improves performance, and improves the thrust of the C-130’s engine.

Long Range Strike Bomber (LRSB)

The DOD continues to pursue the acquisition of future long-range strike bomber capabilities for operating in anti-access/area denial environments.  Inhofe supported full funding of the Long Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) program at $786.2 million.

Civil Air Patrol

Civil Air Patrol is a congressionally chartered, non-profit corporation serving as official auxiliary of the Air Force. Volunteers perform emergency and disaster relief ops, aerospace, and homeland security and courier service missions. Inhofe supported legislation during conference that increased funding in the final bill for Civil Air Patrol operations by $2.3 million to a total of $27.7 million for FY'16.

“The Civil Air Patrol and its 58,000 members greatly appreciate the support of Senator James Inhofe, R-OK, in the FY16 NDAA for its operation and maintenance funding. This funding helps to ensure CAP’s ability to serve and support essential and missions programs in thousands of communities, every state in the nation and Federal agencies,” said John Swain, director of government relations for Civil Air Patrol.

Counter-Narcotics Program for National Guard

Since 1989, the National Guard has worked with law enforcement agencies and community-based organizations to perform interdiction and anti-drug activities.  The National Guard Counter Drug Program (NGCDP) operates in 54 states and territories.  Approximately 2,500 soldiers and airmen support more than 5,000 agencies at the local, state and federal levels to prevent illicit drugs from being imported, manufactured and distributed in the United States.  Inhofe supported language in the finalbill that funds the FY'16 program at $88 million and encourages the Department of Defense to work with the National Guard Bureau to improve fiscal management and execution rates for the NGCDP and expects periodic updates on the NGCDP, to include ongoing and planned NGCDC programs, budget execution rates, and lessons learned.

“Much appreciation for the support given to the Counter-Narcotics Program.  Through this program our Soldiers receive excellent training; this enables them to provide vitally needed reinforcement to law enforcement agencies working in the state of Oklahoma,” said Maj. Gen. Robbie Asher, Adjutant General of the Oklahoma National Guard.

US Naval Sea Cadet Corps Program

The U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps (USNSCC) makes significant contributions in the development of our nation’s youth, the recruitment efforts of the U.S. Navy and the awareness of the Navy and its mission.  Since its inception in 1958, the USNSCC has trained over 170,000 young Americans. Inhofe successfully workedto fully fund the USNSCC program in this year’s NDAA and supported an increase of $1 million in the final bill.  This support will help grow the program to 410 units across all 50 states.

“The U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps is very appreciative of the exceptional and sustained support from Senator Inhofe and his staff. Full program funding ensures that our cadets receive unparalleled training in leadership and naval skills that will prepare them to be the next generation of leaders in our armed services, schools and communities. We continue to be tremendously grateful for Senator Inhofe’s support of our nation’s Sea Cadets,” said U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps Executive Director, CAPT James Monahan, USN (Ret.).

Impact Aid

Inhofe was again successful in including language in the final bill that authorizes $25 million in supplemental Impact Aid to local educational agencies and schools with military dependent children as well as an additional $5 million in Impact Aid for schools with military dependent children with severe disabilities.

“Impact Aid is the great equalizer for schools serving the children of our nation's heroes and enables districts like Lawton Public Schools to meet their unique and special needs. Our military-dependent children deserve the best, and that is only possible through continued funding of Impact Aid,” said Tom Deighan, superintendent of Lawton Public Schools, Lawton (Fort Sill), Okla.

Antenna and Radar Technology Research

Over the past several years, substantial advances in antenna research has been made, which have resulted in dramatic gains in the aerodynamic capability of aircraft and the potential for reducing the size and weight of both manned and unmanned aircraft. These antenna advances can provide higher performance for communications and electronic warfare missions. Inhofe secured report language urging the Secretary of the Air Force to incorporate into legacy and future aircraft the advancements developed through recent research. The language requests the Air Force to keep the committee updated on current antenna research and capabilities.

Significant advances have been made in the field of radar technologies, allowing for the design of multi-function phased array radar that will be able to track both weather patterns and aircraft simultaneously. Inhofe secured report language encouraging the Air Force to remain engaged in the research of radar technology, and requesting the branch to keep the committee briefed on those capabilities, as well as on effort to create radar technologies for multi-mission capability.

“In a severely constrained Federal budget environment, OU is most appreciative of the language pertaining to radar technology and antenna research that Senator Inhofe was able to insert into the Senate Report. This language is helpful in clarifying the importance of continued DOD RDT&E investment in these technical areas and assists the Nation in addressing important challenges that will help ensure our security and the capabilities of our armed forces. The language supports research nationwide in continuing robust efforts in this high priority area to most effectively serve the Nation,” said Kelvin Droegemeier, vice president for research at University of Oklahoma Norman.

AbilityOne Program

The AbilityOne Program is the largest source of employment, on federal contracts, for individuals who are blind or have significant disabilities in the United States. The program has supported the employment of tens of thousands of people across the United States who are blind or have significant disabilities, including veterans and wounded warriors. The DOD, through the use of the AbilityOne Program, has been able to secure key mission-support services to maintain and improve military readiness. Inhofe included report language encouraging DOD to continue to cultivate and increase business opportunities through the use of the AbilityOne Program. The language also encourages the program to continue its emphasis on hiring disabled veterans in providing services to support the warfighter and defense missions.

“SourceAmerica applauds Senator Inhofe’s leadership and his commitment to improving the lives of people with disabilities who are currently outside of the workforce. The Department of Defense has always been a strong partner of the AbilityOne Program and this language will foster even greater collaboration and provide value to the DoD, the warfighter, and people with disabilities living in military communities across the nation,” said Steve Soroka, president and CEO for SourceAmerica.

Active Electronically Scanned Array Radar (AESA)

The 138th Fighter Wing, Oklahoma Air National Guard and those like it across the country are protecting the U.S. from terrorist attacks 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  This is a no-fail mission, which our F-16 aircraft are executing while operating legacy radar systems in dire need of upgrading. Inhofe included report language in this year’s NDAA supporting First Air Force and Northern Command’s Joint Urgent Operational Need (JUON) request to upgrade the F-16 fleet systems to the AESA radar.  This will help bridge the gap between our 4th and 5th generation fighters and ensure their continued success in protecting our nation. 

“We at the 138th Fighter Wing are very pleased that the Senate has supported funding for the Active Electronic Scanned Array (AESA) radar in the FY16 NDAA for the current F-16 fleet.  The AESA radar provides greatly enhanced combat capability for the F-16CM fleet to deter, detect and defend against the latest generation air threats.  By adding the AESA radar to the F-16CM fleet, the Air Force is able to extend the combat longevity of the fleet as the F-35 replacements come on line. The decision to upgrade the F-16CM fleet with AESA is an excellent cost-to-value gain for the Air Force and we appreciate the SASCs understanding of the importance the AESA radar gives to the combat capability of the F-16,” said Col. Dave Burgy, Commander of the 138th Fighter Wing, Air National Guard.

Energy Security and Efficiency Technologies

Inhofe included report language that builds upon the energy security and efficiency technologies being tested by the DOD.  Inhofe’s support of these technologies and microgrid demonstrations will provide energy infrastructure protections, maintain vital energy supplies during man-made and natural disasters, all while achieving energy efficiencies and cost savings.  These demonstrations, to include those at Fort Sill, will specifically target critical infrastructure at lowest implementation costs and will be imperative in today’s fiscally constrained environment.

“Eaton appreciates Senator Inhofe's leadership and support of microgrid technology.  This advanced technology will provide solutions to lower energy costs and address security problems across DOD.  Installations like Ft. Sill are leading the way in developing these effective energy solutions,” said Ram Ramakrishnan, executive vice president and chief technology officer of Eaton Corporation.

Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW)

The threats to our national security are higher than ever before. Inhofe is concerned with the Navy’s proposal to terminate from its munitions capabilities the Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW), which are produced at the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant. Inhofe included report language directing the Navy to provide a detailed analysis of its JSOW inventory, wartime requirements, and the impact of termination on U.S. war plans and JSOW Foreign Military Sales.  The language also voiced support for additional procurement should the Navy’s analysis determine the need for more JSOWs.

“Ducommun appreciates your support of the JSOW program. Our facility in Tulsa, Okla., produces sophisticated, front-end electronics for the weapon. JSOW is a vital tool for the safety of the warfighter and our national security in general. In addition, Ducommun’s involvement with JSOW is very important to the approximately 200 workers we employ in Oklahoma. We respectfully request your continued support of the JSOW program,” said Brett R Sydlewski, vice president and general manager of Circuit Board Solutions, Ducommun Incorporated.

Analysis of Domestic Department of Defense Installations Gas and Oil Reserves

Inhofe introduced report language for the FY’16 NDAA that directs the DOD to consider allowing energy development projects on military installations that have proven reserves of natural gas and oil. This could potentially open up the use of gas reserves underneath McAlester Army Ammunition Plant (MCAAP) while also reducing energy costs.

“The MDSA acknowledges there is tremendous positive potential and that national security, the taxpayers and the developers would all win from revenues sourced from untapped energy reserves beneath military installations. To enable this mutual benefit would require special legislation to allow revenue from sales of natural gas to return to the host military installation conditional upon granting those installations first priority to utilize the natural gas for energy independence, development of energy savings projects and finally to share in the benefits from the sale of any excess natural gas or energy generated for infrastructure maintenance and revitalization.  The expense of hosting those activities in a safe, secure, environmentally friendly manner that is conducive to mission execution must be assumed by revenue sourced from outside DOD,” said Mark Jordan, chairman of the McAlester Defense Support Association. 

General Services Administration contracts executed by DOD

In an effort to become more efficient and effective, the General Services Administration (GSA) closed its west coast distribution center in September 2014 and its east coast distribution centers in December 2014.  Due to these closures, GSA transferred management of the material previously stocked in the centers for order fulfillment by non-DOD state and local customers to the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA).  As a result, GSA contracts being managed by DLA fell under U.S. Code Title 10, adding unintended restrictions on purchases by non-DOD state and local GSA customers.  One group impacted is specialized wildland firefighting equipment and supplies to federal and cooperating agencies.  Inhofe successfully included language in the final bill that allows GSA non-DOD customers to continue to operate outside of Title 10 requirements with no impact to non-DOD state and local customers.

NewView Oklahoma is extremely pleased that language has been added to the Defense Authorization Act which significantly improves the DLA procurement protocol. And we are most grateful to our congressional leaders for their support in getting these changes approved.  Their efforts ensure that we are able to supply top quality products in a timely manner, especially to the US Forestry Service.  NewView has been their sole supplier for fire hoses for the last 15 years.  We are especially proud of our blind and visually impaired employees who assemble and prepare the hoses that will go to help firefighters across our country keep us safe from harm.  And not only do these contracts provide meaningful employment, but the revenue generated enables us to provide vision rehabilitation services to over 2,300 Oklahomans every year,” said Lauren Branch, president and CEO NewView Oklahoma.

Cyber Security

The DOD has drastically increased its funding for cyber operations and security to address the growing threats posed by cyber-attacks by our enemies’ use of advanced technologies. Inhofe supported language in the bill to preserve our means to train and equip our cyber forces to defend America now and in the future, while focusing on growing our capabilities through education, training and technological development. The University of Tulsa (TU) has long been a center of excellence in cyber security and research.  This language will provide additional opportunities for TU to continue to contribute to the development of cutting edge technologies for our nation’s defense and for all Americans.

“Senator Inhofe has worked tirelessly to support The University of Tulsa's premier standing in cyber security education and training.  We are proud of the role we play in America's national defense and appreciate very much the Senator's leadership in this critical concern,” said Steadman Upham, president of The University of Tulsa.

###