Opening Statement (As Prepared)

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Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And welcome to Dr. Celeste Wallander, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, and General Christopher Cavoli, Commander, U.S. European Command (EUCOM). Thank you for being here today to discuss Europe’s and NATO’s impact on U.S. national security.
Your testimony today is timely. The most significant issue before the House is passage of a supplemental appropriations bill that will, if it is brought to the Floor and passed, enable Ukraine to defend itself, our allies, and our interests from Vladimir Putin’s violent and dark view of the world. I look forward to hearing from Dr. Wallander and General Cavoli exactly how they would move aid to Ukraine in the event of passage of this bill, as well as their view on why it is needed so urgently by Ukrainian armed forces tempered by over two years of war but desperately in need of weapons and ammunition.
Russia’s war in Ukraine has, despite its obvious horrors, been a valuable warning to the United States, Europe, and NATO. Russia has shown its hand, spectacularly disproving the post-Cold War conventional wisdom that Russia was content within its own borders, even as it turned away from democracy and toward authoritarian, military dictatorship. Over two years of war in Ukraine later, I look forward to hearing from our witnesses about how our allies and partners are operationalizing the lessons learned by this realization in support of our defense interests, their own national security objectives and commitments, and the defense needs of a Ukraine fighting against a violent and revanchist Russia.
I also hope to hear from them about what will happen if the national security supplemental is not passed by the House in a timely fashion.
From General Cavoli, I would like to hear his assessment of what will happen on the battlefield and to NATO, and from Dr. Wallander I expect to hear about what will happen to our ability to defend against a victorious, emboldened, and enlarged Russia in perpetuity while also meeting our commitments and defense objectives elsewhere, especially with regard to China and Taiwan.
I want to hear about what it would mean for the United States if we decline to defend the rules based international order that we by-and-large created after the Second World War, including what we in Congress and by extension the American people will pay in blood and treasure if Putin is allowed a victory in Europe and others like him are encouraged to go to war against our friends and interests elsewhere.
There are other pressing issues that at any other moment would be headline news:
Sweden’s accession to NATO.
Finland’s incorporation into the alliance after accession last year.
Türkiye’s moves back toward the alliance, a shift that the Chairman and I were pleased to see firsthand on our trip there last month.
The general increases in defense budgets across the Continent.
Persistent calls for more and more modern defense posture in the alliance, especially in the east.
And planning for the Washington NATO Summit this summer, where allies will celebrate the 75th anniversary of NATO at a time of grave threats to the alliance.

All are of interest to the Committee as we conduct oversight of the Department on these issues and create this year’s NDAA.
Thanks again to the witnesses for their service and impending testimony on these topics and how the President’s Budget supports our national security in Europe.
Mr. Chairman, I yield back.