By Jim Garamone DoD News, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON, October 27, 2015 — The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has begun the process to select the successor for Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia, senior enlisted advisor to the chairman, who retires Dec. 11.
“I think it is really, really important to have that enlisted voice in D.C., and for me personally, I’m looking for that kind of relationship,” Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. said recently.
The senior enlisted advisor to the chairman is the senior noncommissioned officer in the U.S. military. The chairman appoints the SEAC for a two-year term, which can be renewed, and the SEAC advises the chairman and the secretary of defense on matters affecting the enlisted force.
‘Epitome of Senior Enlisted Leadership’
The selection process already has started, Dunford said in a recent interview. “I’m looking for somebody that the soldiers, airmen, Marines and sailors will look to and say, ‘That’s the epitome of senior enlisted leadership; that’s somebody I want representing me back in Washington, D.C.,’” the chairman said.
Whoever is selected has to have “street credibility” and the ability to inspire people, the general said. And he does not want a “yes man,” he added. Rather, he said, he wants someone “who’s going to tell the boss to think straight.”
There is no shortage of qualified candidates in the U.S. military, the general said, noting that he anticipates it will be a tough decision. While serving as Marine Corps commandant before he became the Joint Chiefs chairman, Dunford said, he had five unbelievably qualified candidates to pick from last year when choosing the sergeant major of the Marine Corps, and he spent “three or four sleepless nights” making the decision.
The position of senior enlisted advisor to the chairman is relatively new, having been filled by just two men since then-chairman Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace created it in 2005. Army Command Sgt. Maj. William Gainey was the first SEAC, holding the position from 2005 to his retirement in 2008. It remained vacant until then-chairman Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey appointed Battaglia in 2011.