My experience in the Air Force has been immensely formative to my worldview, my patriotism, and my understanding of national security. That is why I am honored to serve as a member of the House Armed Services Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee where I am in the position to address national security issues that matter to families and businesses in southeastern PA. I am committed to ensuring our national defense and security through my focus on issues impacting our supply chains and cyber security.
In January 2022, three weeks before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, I traveled to NATO headquarters in Brussels and then to Kyiv, Ukraine, to meet with President Zelenskyy and senior Ukrainian officials to discuss their national security and express our support for their sovereignty. Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine is a threat to democracies around the world, and I am committed to continuing our support for their independence. It is especially important that we demonstrate our commitment to defending democracy when we know that nations like China, which has become increasingly aggressive toward Taiwan, are watching closely.
This is personal for me, too. My father was born in what is now Ukraine before fleeing during World War II, and he later served in the U.S. Navy, flying patrol planes to search for Russian submarines. When I was personally sanctioned by Russia, it was a point of pride for me and my family.
I also recently represented the U.S. government on a trip to Helsinki, Finland in June. We discussed a number of issues, among them Finland’s potential NATO accession. I was proud to vote yes on approving Sweden and Finland's application to join NATO, and I am glad that a majority of our Senators did the same.
As a member of the Defense Critical Supply Chain Task Force, I participated in bipartisan dialogue, discussions, and solution development to address our reliance on foreign materials, rare earth elements, and critical minerals. These crucial resources are the key to our national security and defense and industrial base. Securing a domestic supply of resources such as medicine for our service members is paramount to maintaining our defense. That is why I introduced H.R. 6374, the bipartisan and bicameral Strengthening Supply Chains for Servicemembers and Security Act, to strengthen domestic pharmaceutical supply chains impacting our service members. I remain focused on finding other solutions to reduce our reliance on foreign materials within our defense and national security sectors.
I am also committed to helping small businesses contribute their technologies and capabilities to meet our national security challenges. I worked closely with my Republican colleagues to introduce the bipartisan and bicameral Investing in American Defense Technologies Act, H.R.8470, to help small American companies receive the financial investment they need to do business with the Department of Defense.
I also believe that cybersecurity is national security. We are seeing reports of cyber-attacks at an alarming rate, and we must respond accordingly. The U.S. needs an experienced cybersecurity workforce to defend ourselves and our interests against bad actors. In order to protect and defend our national interests, I introduced H.R.5138, the bipartisan and bicameral Federal Cybersecurity Workforce Expansion Act, which is aimed at strengthening the United States’ cyber defense and cyber security workforce by creating two new training programs within the federal government for those willing to serve in this critical field.
I have also been proud to work with local organizations like the Coatesville Area School District Air Force Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program to make sure that the military is a career path available to all of our children – regardless of economic background, gender, or race. When the Coatesville AF JROTC was scheduled to be decommissioned at the end of the 2020 school year, I advocated for the program and led the Air Force to reverse their decision. My life up to this point is in no small part due to the opportunities made available by my ROTC scholarship. We need to make sure that people of all backgrounds and skill sets can serve in the armed services and have access to the opportunities I did.
Our nation’s security is dependent upon those who are willing to serve. It is crucial we take steps to increase opportunities for - and access to - national service. I have spoken with so many Pennsylvanians who have the desire to serve, but either lack the knowledge, resources or access to do so. I was proud to introduce the Inspire to Serve Act, a bipartisan bill aimed to bridge the gap between service opportunities and the countless Americans who want to serve their country. Our national security is strengthened when it reflects the diversity of our nation, and one of my top priorities in Congress is to ensure that our friends and neighbors understand how they can serve the country we all love.