NCO Journal staff report
Army Command Sgt. Maj. John W. Troxell of U.S. Forces Korea will be the next senior enlisted advisor to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. announced Troxell’s selection to replace Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia on Wednesday. Battaglia was selected for the role by former Chairman Army Gen. Martin Dempsey and was sworn in Sept. 30, 2011. Battaglia is retiring in December.
Troxell, 51, will be the nation’s third SEAC, a post which serves as the armed forces’ most senior noncommissioned officer and the principal military advisor to the chairman and the U.S. secretary of defense on all matters involving joint and combined total force integration, utilization, health of the force and joint development for enlisted personnel.
“All of the candidates epitomize senior enlisted leadership,” Dunford said in a statement announcing Troxell’s selection. “Sgt. Maj. Troxell is someone Soldiers, airmen, Marines and sailors can look up to. He can inspire people, and he is someone I trust to tell me things straight.”
Troxell is the command senior enlisted leader of the United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command and United States Forces Korea, stationed in Yongsan, South Korea. He enlisted in the Army in 1982 as an armored reconnaissance specialist and has served in numerous units throughout his career, including as the senior enlisted adviser for I Corps at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, and as the senior NCO for the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force-Joint Command in Afghanistan. He served combat tours of duty in Operation Just Cause, Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, two tours in Operation Iraqi Freedom and one in Operation Enduring Freedom.
During a May symposium on U.S. Land Power in the Pacific in Oahu, Hawaii, Troxell expressed some of his expectations for noncommissioned officers after serving in a joint, combined environment at U.S. Forces Korea.
“When we talk about interoperability, my definition is the ability, confidence and comfort for a noncommissioned officer to operate in any environment, whether it’s their service environment or working around partner security forces or working with other services,” Troxell said. “The way I think we get after that is through horizontal communication. We do a great job at vertical communication. … What we have to get better at is horizontal communication in the joint and combined perspective.
“What we want is the ability to have that service identity and understand that as an Army there are things we have to stand alone on, but also, that we are never going to face another fight alone,” Troxell said. “It’s going to be in a joint capacity, and also a multinational capacity.”
The first enlisted service member to hold the position was Army Command Sgt. Maj. William J. “Joe” Gainey, who was SEAC from Oct. 1, 2005, until he retired in April 2008. The post was created in 2005 by then-Joint Chiefs Chairman Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace during the height of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts and growing concern about the health and sustainability of the force.
Pace’s successor as chairman, Adm. Mike Mullen, opted not to appoint a senior enlisted adviser, although Dempsey did shortly after he assumed the chairman position. Dunford’s decision to name a SEAC may help institutionalize the relatively new position.
By DOD regulation, eligible for the position are only senior enlisted advisors assigned to the military’s top four-star commands — senior enlisted members of each of the five services, the nine combatant commands, the National Guard Bureau, U.S. Forces Korea, U.S. Forces Afghanistan, U.S. Cyber Command and Allied Command Transformation, a NATO command.