Battaglia Ready to Assist in Shaping Total Force
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 14, 2011 The Defense Department’s top enlisted service member said today he is ready to help DOD’s leaders address challenges and shape the military for 2020.
As the senior enlisted advisor to Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and to Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia already has begun to tackle issues that are affecting enlisted forces across the Defense Department.
“General Dempsey is going to shape the force for 2020, and I’m certainly going to assist in that, with the cooperation of, and in concert with, the services’ senior enlisted advisors and all the combatant commands’ senior enlisted leadership,” Battaglia said in an interview with the Pentagon Channel and American Forces Press Service.
The senior enlisted advisor emphasized the team approach in resolving issues.
“I certainly can’t do it alone,” Battaglia said. “We all know there’s no ‘I’ in team, so I have to rely [on other enlisted leaders] -- as, hopefully, they’ll rely on me -- [so that] we bring various issues, challenges and recommended solutions to the chairman and other decision-makers in our national leadership as kind of a unified force.”
Battaglia cited suicide and divorce rates among service members as two of his top concerns, outside of budgetary challenges.
“Suicide – that’s a lingering issue that we’ve just not been able to crack the code on yet,” he said. “And unfortunately, and sadly enough, statistics across the force continue to rise.
“Divorce is another one,” he added. “Over the course of time, hopefully, I can have a significant and positive impact with how our young military couples – and not always young -- form that bond as husband and wife and work through marriages via [resilience].”
Battaglia said he also has high interest in the use of modeling and simulation in the training of armed forces.
“I just like more involvement in that, because that’s the training of our force,” he said. “When it comes to airmen, soldiers, sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, training him or her to a level where they’re able to confidently and efficiently accomplish their mission prevents putting a high-school performance in an NFL matchup.”
In his early days on the job, Battaglia has become involved in an initiative known as Total Force Fitness that Navy Adm. Mike Mullen – Dempsey’s predecessor as chairman -- signed into policy through a Joint Staff instruction. “That’s one family program that I hope really takes off,” he said. The program is a series of best practices to help families build resilience, he said, and has gained momentum over the past few years.
The Defense Department faces many issues, Battaglia said, especially looming budget cuts, and needs to address them together as a “total force.”
“Everyone knows that we have some challenges ahead … with our budgetary deficit that we have found ourselves in with the cost of war over the period of the last 10 years,” he said. “I just want to project to the enlisted force that we’re going to get through this.
It may be challenging, Battaglia said, but Dempsey and other leaders are up to it.
“We’re going to do it together, and we’re going to do it as a total force,” he said.