Senior Advisor to JCS Chairman: Team Picatinny, what you do for Warfighters is not unappreciated
August 19, 2014
PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. - A free golf clinic hosted by Professional Golfer's Association (PGA) professional and New Jersey native, Morgan Hoffmann, was held Aug.18 on Picatinny Arsenal's golf course just days before he plays at the Barclays Tournament in Paramus, N.J.
Hoffmann was joined by Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan Battaglia. The two visited the arsenal as part of the PGA Tour, Birdies for the Brave, a national military outreach initiative dedicated to honoring the courageous men and women of the United States Armed Forces and their families.
Birdies for the Brave was originally created in 2006 by PGA TOUR player, Phil Mickelson, and his wife, Amy, to support combat-wounded veterans. The PGA TOUR subsequently adopted the program and expanded it to include a variety of military outreach activities during PGA TOUR events as well as fundraising events conducted at the PGA TOUR's Tournament Players Clubs and partner courses across the nation. This effort has raised more than $11 million for non-profit military groups that are supported by PGA TOUR players, which provide direct support to military members, veterans, and their families ranging from financial aid, rehabilitation services, counseling and housing to educational scholarships and career development.
Hoffman, who turned pro in 2011, provided demonstrations and tips to the Picatinny community of golfers, veterans, employees and family members including a youth golf camp held on the arsenal's 18-hole course.
"I think everyone on tour has been involved with it (Birdies for the Brave)," Hoffman said. "It's just giving back to those who served our country and it is a complete honor for us and we realize how important it is for each of us to give back."
Hoffmann said that two of his family members, an uncle and his cousin, Peter Lionetti, work at Picatinny. Lionetti is an engineer with the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center.
Hoffmann plans to continue to do tours like the Birdies for the Brave throughout his career. He stated that he was at Coronado where he toured with U.S. Navy SEALS and offered them tips to help with their golf swing. They rewarded him with the opportunity to a shoot a .50 caliber rifle.
Battaglia took office in October 2011 and is the second Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman. He serves as the principal military advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army General, Martin Dempsey and to the Secretary of Defense, the Honorable Chuck Hagel, on all matters involving the joint and combined total force integration, utilization, health of the force and development for enlisted personnel.
We spoke with Battaglia to ask him several questions regarding current military operations.
Picatinny Voice: During your travels to locations across the Department of Defense, what are some key concerns that non-commissioned and enlisted personnel express to you?
Sgt. Maj. Battaglia: "If I had to choose one, a grave concern that they all express is the uncertainty of our immediate fiscal future and how the reshaping of our Armed Forces is going to impact that individual servicemember or even family member. I try to reinforce and to them that while it may sting to some degree, we're going to be ok and that this is not the first time that we've been through this. It's cyclic. We're on the heels of coming out of Iraq and now there is downsizing in Afghanistan, so we no longer have the money to train the way we have trained, in some cases, for the past 13 or so years. And, that is okay because we have a young force that has ingenuity and creativity. They will maintain a level of proficiency that will keep us poised and postured as a force, a joint force, ready to answer any urgent requirement that the President may direct. Easier said than done, but as they maintain readiness they are going to see that we will forge our way through as we help our nation build itself out of this fiscal cellar that we are in."
Picatinny Voice: Sergeant Major, budget constraints on the military have created a climate of uncertainty among non-commissioned and enlisted personnel and their families. What message would you convey to them during these difficult times?
Sgt. Maj. Battaglia: "Maybe I can caveat to say this: connected to uncertainty are Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Coast Guardsmen, and Marines, including my own. Their careers will come to an end. It is inevitable for all of us. And, as that nears an end, we want to ensure that we properly and thoroughly transition or prepare them for transition and integration back into their nation's neighborhoods. That takes a pretty concentrated effort from everyone not just leaders, but everyone that we have the transition efforts in place. From a guardsman who is getting demobilized to an active guy or gal who is completing 35 years of service, its transition and it's quite a significant culture change in one's life cycle now that they hang up the uniform for good. So, connected to the uncertainty not just from a fiscal standpoint but changing of lifestyle.
It wasn't that long ago that the Army was at a Stop Loss, if you remember that--Soldiers who completed their commitment, their enlistment, and it was time for them to get out but they couldn't because the Army needed them to stay in. Now it's kind of completely opposite, where the Army is down. I choose the Army only because they are our biggest service and I feel that they are going to take the largest impact of this, but we are all in it together. It's completely inverted from Stop Loss. There are Soldiers who don't want to get out, who want to continue on to soldiering but there's not enough room. There's competition obviously taking place of who is going to get those seats to stay on the payroll. The Soldier could have a blemish free record, doing exceptional in the military and time served, but that's quite an emotional roller coaster ride for a Soldier who is looking to make a career out of the Army. So, we try to encourage them that even though they are transitioning, the possibility of leaving the active component but yet going into the Reserves or the Guard may be a way to keep your foot in the door.
If you want to keep on soldiering use that as an option for yourself. That will help diffuse or minimize some of the uncertainty but I will tell you that the society at large is very hungry now for veterans that are transitioning for employment. They realize the value that a Soldier, Airman, Marines, Sailor, Coast Guardsman can bring to an employer, a company, a corporation or organization. The ability to lead and have teamwork and loyalty and ingenuity and drive and determination, all of those traits that we sometimes take for granted, are needed throughout our American society."
Picatinny Voice: Lastly, Sergeant Major, you were unable to tour the installation.. However Col. Scott Turner, our ARDEC Military Deputy, provided you with a rundown of what is done here at Picatinny. What can the scientists, engineers and technical civilians at Picatinny do to support the more pressing needs of the Warfighter?
Sgt. Maj. Battaglia: "I think in the absence of touring around and seeing some things up close and personal, I have an inkling of an idea of what the folks on the post here do. I know there are green suiters and a Marine Reserve Detachment here that may deploy as unit or individual augmentees so they continue to do the nation's bidding but there's also a larger supporter arm and it comes into our public, private community investment with industry. If I could give any sort of advice to those DoD civilians, even military retired folks who are now DoD civilians is to never forget where they came from and to know that it all about supporting the Warfighter on the battlefield or in an operational area and that the equipment that they research and develop here has a direct impact as to how it is performed where the rubber meets the road. While their jobs and efforts may sometimes come across as unnoticed, they are not unappreciated."