Foreign Relations and International Travel
As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Hagel was tasked with working on an international scale. He and other committee members met with foreign dignitaries in Washington, D.C., as well as overseas. Senators travel often to meet foreign leaders, visit with military leaders and troops and other Americans abroad, and gain first-hand knowledge of matters relevant to federal policies and legislation. Often they travel in what is known as a Congressional Delegation, or CODEL.
Hagel saw an extensive amount of the world including Asia, Russia, the Middle East, and Northern Africa. His travel to these areas came in part because of his membership on the Foreign Relations Committee and its subcommittees focused on those regions.
The four pages that follow contain documents from 20 trips to four continents. Economic and security conferences were the focus of many of Hagel's trips. Even when the purpose of a trip was a conference, the Senator often had meetings with foreign leaders, diplomats and businesspeople.
We chose these trips to show the variety of countries he visited and the reasons for travel. But, they certainly are not the only Congressional Delegations (CODELs) he went on while senator. Hagel's staff made sure that he was well prepared on his trips, by providing background materials on the countries he visited and the people he met with. There is also evidence of his support for American troops, found in copies of notes written to the parents of the individual service members that he met.