Sen. Mullin Invites SASC Chairman Reed To Tour Oklahoma Military Bases

One of the most influential members of Congress, when it comes to funding the nation’s armed forces, was recently in Oklahoma, touring the state’s military bases. Senate Armes Services Committee Chair Jack Reed was there at the invitation of U.S. Sen. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.).

Thursday, April 18th 2024, 5:39 pm

By: News On 6, News 9, Alex Cameron


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One of the most influential members of Congress, when it comes to funding the nation’s armed forces, was recently in Oklahoma, touring the state’s military bases. Senate Armes Services Committee Chair Jack Reed was there at the invitation of U.S. Sen. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.).

For years, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-R.I.) worked closely with former Oklahoma Senator and defense hawk, Jim Inhofe. Now it’s Senator Mullin who sits on Armed Services and who’s cultivating that relationship. He says this visit was a good start.

"I think it was very successful--it was very long! I feel sorry for the chairman," Mullin joked in an interview this week.

Mullin says he and the Democratic Senator from Rhode Island had two very full days, visiting four of Oklahoma's five military bases: Tinker Air Force Base, Altus Air Force Base, Fort Sill, and McAlester Army Ammunition Plant. "It was extremely impressive to have him there and see his eyes opened, the questions that he asked," Mullin explained.

Reed has been on the Senate Armed Services Committee since 1998, two years after his initial election to the Senate. He became the ranking member in 2015 and chairman in 2021. Mullin obviously doesn't have the seniority that his predecessor Senator Inhofe had, but he says he's determined to provide the same level of support to Oklahoma bases and felt that giving Reed a firsthand look could only help.

"He’s a West Point grad and he went through Fort Sill," said Mullin, "so it was kind of neat to see how they really rolled out the red carpet for him. It was kind of a homecoming."

Mullin says they saw a lot, and he was surprised to learn that much of what they saw -- the Air Logistics Center at Tinker, even the drone technology at Fort Sill -- Senator Reed had not seen before.

"I made the assumption, being the chairman, he had seen this, but he hadn’t," Mullin said, "and it was really exciting for him to, one, see it firsthand, to see what drone swarms look like and the defense of them, and then to see where the need is for investment."

Former U.S. Senator, Jim Inhofe used to brag that through five major Base Realignment And Closure (BRAC) proceedings, from 1988 to 2005, Oklahoma's bases only gained missions. Senator Mullin says he doesn't expect that to change on his watch, especially now that Chairman Reed has seen the bases himself.

"That accomplished exactly what we were trying to get done," Mullin said. 

The timing of the trip was significant, Mullin stated, as work on the 2025 defense budget — the NDAA — is already well underway.

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