U.S. Air Force Secretary Discusses Contributions to NATO Operations and Baltic Air Policing Mission with Defense Ministry Leadership

Riga, July 19, 2016 – The U.S. Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James departed Riga Sunday following meetings with Latvian Ministry of Defense officials to discuss Latvia’s role in the Baltic Air Policing mission as well as its contributions to Operation Atlantic Resolve.

Following her meetings, Secretary James said, “I had very enlightening conversations with Defense Minister Bergmanis on how best to defend against potential Russian threats to the Baltics as well as the capabilities Latvia is developing in light of this. We remain committed to European security and know the investment in Lielvarde Air base will allow Latvia even greater capacity to contribute to NATO.”

On Friday, Secretary James held meetings with Defense Minister Raimonds Bergmanis, State Secretary Janis Garisons, and Minister of Defense Policy Director Janis Karlsbergs. On Saturday, Secretary James visited Lielvarde Air base and met with the acting-Chief of the Latvian Air Force, Lieutenant Colonel Jurijs Plavins. They discussed matters related to regional security, including the United States’ contribution towards the development of the Lielvarde Air Base. Secretary James also met with US Airmen and Soldiers currently at Lielvarde and learned about how they are partnering with the Latvian Air Forces.

Secretary James’ visit to Latvia is part of a European tour to advance security cooperation, discuss the war on terror and other security concerns.