As the former chief of staff of the U.S. Army, I developed many lasting relationships with members of Congress. Congresswoman Elise Stefanik is one of these members.

The success of our armed forces depends on the development of these meaningful partnerships between policymakers and our service chiefs.

In the heart of New York’s north country is Fort Drum, a major Army installation, home of the 10th Mountain Division and the Army’s premier Light Infantry Division.

Congresswoman Stefanik is a leader for Fort Drum in Washington.

And as a member of the House Armed Services Committee and the vice chair on the Readiness Subcommittee, she has proven to be a vital partner on Army readiness issues.

Decisions by lawmakers regarding national defense require a sober assessment of the current global landscape and call for a stable budget environment.

Congresswoman Stefanik has helped to lead the fight against those devastating across-the-board defense cuts brought about by sequestration, recognizing the severe impact it would have on our national security.

When proposed amendments in the National Defense Authorization Act threatened the readiness of our Army aviation community, Congresswoman Stefanik proved to be a committed partner on issues impacting the U.S. Army.

She fought against provisions in committee and on the House floor to ensure our Aviation Brigades weren’t crippled by the loss of Apache helicopters.

She utilized her position in the committee and her appointment to the Conference Committee to advocate for Army Aviation Readiness every step of the way.

In just her first term in office, Congresswoman Stefanik remains a great partner to the U.S. Army, a true advocate for our service members and a leader in protecting our nation’s defense at home and abroad.

Gen. Ray Odierno

Colorado Springs, Colo.

The writer is retired chief of staff for the U.S. Army.