U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik examined national security issues and met with military service members during a week-long visit to three Eastern European countries.
Stefanik, R-Willsboro, and U.S. Rep. Anthony Brown, a Maryland Democrat, were part of a congressional delegation that traveled to Estonia, Latvia and Ukraine last week while the House of Representatives was not in session.
The trip was announced by Stefanik's office Monday. Stefanik is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and chairs the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities.
"I was pleased to lead this delegation visit to meet first-hand with partner nations in the Baltics and Eastern Europe," Stefanik said in a statement. "The CODEL focused specifically on national security issues and partnership engagement activities within the areas of information warfare, cyber operations, irregular warfare and special operations, and Defense programs designed to strengthen partner nations and NATO capabilities."
In Latvia, Stefanik and the delegation met with Nancy Pettit, the U.S. ambassador to Latvia, and embassy staff. Briefings were held at the Latvian Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They also met with Inara Murniece, speaker of the Latvian Parliament, and held a roundtable discussion with Latvian journalists.
Similar meetings were held in Estonia and Ukraine. While in Estonia, the Stefanik-led delegation also met with the National Digital Advisor to the President and the NATO Cyber Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellent. They also participated in briefings with Estonia and U.S. military forces at Amari Air Base in Harjumaa. They were also briefed by the Estonian deputy chief of defense at the Defense Force Headquarters.
The visit to Estonia was significant because the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, which is based at Fort Drum in Stefanik's district, has previously deployed there.
The briefings and meetings continued in Ukraine. The group toured the Ukraine Center for Disease Control and Monitoring and traveled to Brovary for a briefing with the commander of the Ukrainian Special Operations Forces.
Stefanik visited with members of the New York National Guard who train at Fort Drum while in Yavroriv. They also met with the Ukrainian commander of the Combined Training Center and the Joint Multinational Training Group - Ukraine.
In her statement Monday, Stefanik noted that many of the discussions during the trip focused on efforts to counter Russian information warfare tactics.
"Throughout the trip we emphasized the importance of the NATO Alliance and bilateral relationships, including contributions from U.S. active duty and National Guard forces from New York and Maryland," she said.