Bayard & Holmes

~ Jay Holmes*


The US Navy has brought eight espionage charges against US Navy Chief Fire Controlman (Aegis) Bryce Steven Pedicini for crimes he allegedly committed between November, 2022, and May, 2023. The charges stem from allegations that on eight occasions, Pedicini gave classified documents to a foreign government. The US Navy is now ready to proceed with a court-martial.

US Navy Chief Bryce Pedicini
Image via, public domain

Who Is Pedicini?

Pedicini, originally from Tennessee, enlisted in the US Navy in 2008 and advanced to the rank of Chief (E-7) in August, 2022. He was stationed aboard the 7th Fleet USN Destroyer USS Higgins (DDG-76), which was home ported at Yokosuka Naval Base on May 19, 2023, when he was arrested.

He has been locked up since his arrest, and we can assume that he has undergone long conversations with the US Navy, and possibly with the FBI and other US agencies concerning his alleged activities.  

What Was Compromised?

To clarify, a US Navy Fire Controlman is not someone who fights fires. While any member of a ship’s crew or any military passengers might engage in firefighting, one who specialize in controlling fires and other types of damage on US Navy ships is called a Damage Controlman.

A Fire Controlman is a specialist in operating and repairing the complicated, expensive systems that locate and differentiate enemy targets. They also control naval guns, missiles, and torpedoes and guide them toward the targets. A Fire Controlman is usually a person with above-average intelligence, and they are expected to be mentally stable. They receive thorough training and retraining that includes frequent reminders concerning the proper handling of classified material.

Pedicini is an expert on the Aegis Combat System. The Aegis system is a powerful system for war fighting, and, for instance, killing the occasional Houthi terrorist gang with a missile strike. The Aegis system is also used ashore as a powerful air defense control system. Its inner workings are highly classified, and it is a major target for any government hostile to the US. While precisely what Pedicini might have given away has not yet been released, he was in a position to do tremendous damage to our national security.

What Did Pedicini Allegedly Do?

Thus far, the US Navy has accused Pedicini of starting his espionage spree on November 22, 2022. On that date, he delivered a classified national defense document to a citizen and employee of a foreign government (a.k.a. a foreign agent) in Hampton Roads, Virginia. When he delivered this document, Chief Pedicini had reason to believe that it would be used to the injury of the United States and to the advantage of a foreign nation.

The US Navy has yet to release which foreign country or countries received classified information from Pedicini. Any number of mortal enemies of the US and Western Civilization would love to have the working secrets of the Aegis Combat System, and if one enemy gets the information, they might well sell it to other enemies of the US.

The following are the most serious charges against Pedicini that the US Navy has released thus far.


While at his previous duty station in Norfolk, VA, Pedicini allegedly gave classified documents to foreign agents in Hampton Roads, Virginia, on these occasions:

US Federal Penitentiary, Terre Haute
Houses primary execution chamber for military executions.
Image by Dept of Justice, public domain

November 22, 2022

December 3, 2022

December 2022 (day unspecified)

January 2023 (day unspecified)

January 2023 (day unspecified)

Febuary 5, 2023

Febuary 19, 2023


While at his new assignment onboard the USS Higgins, Pedicini is accused of the following:

The US Navy alleges that Pedicini failed to report a foreign contact in Yokosuka, and that he failed to report the solicitation of classified information by an unauthorized person in April, 2023.

From May 8 to May 17, 2023, in Yokosuka, Japan, Pedicini allegedly attempted to communicate information relating to national defense photographs that included images of a computer screen with secret information.

Pedicini is also accused of taking a personal electronic device into a secure room aboard Barge APL-67 in Yokosuka in May, 2023. 

VADM Brendan McLane
Image US Navy, public domain

In addition, Pedicini faces multiple charges of communicating classified defense information to foreign contacts in Hampton Roads.

These charges may be separate from documents passed in person to a foreign agent, and they may refer to information transmitted electronically. 

The US Navy brought these charges against Chief Pedicini in January, 2024. The head of Naval Surface Forces, Vice Adm. Brendan McLane, is the convening authority in the case. He has a reputation for being exceedingly intelligent, diligent, and calm, and he is viewed as a US naval officer of high integrity.

My Predictions and Opinions

In my opinion, under McLane’s leadership, Pedicini will receive a fair trial. The prosecution will bring an honest and thoroughly investigated case, and the defense will have the unenviable task of arguing on behalf of Pedicini.

Jihadi Nidal Hasan
Image by US Army, public domain

The US Navy would not bring such a scandalous and embarrassing case against a Navy Chief without extremely solid evidence. In due course, assuming Pedicini is, indeed, guilty, he will be convicted of espionage, and he could receive a death sentence. A death sentence is unlikely; however, Pedicini might well receive multiple life sentences.

By comparison, US military death row inmate US Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan, the psychiatrist-turned-jihadi, was convicted of murdering thirteen US citizens at Ft. Hood, Texas, and injuring thirty more in 2009. In Pedicini’s case, if he is found guilty, he has endangered many thousands of US citizens and allies by his actions, which stretched out, as far as we know so far, over a period of six months.

I am not a major supporter of the death penalty; however, if Pedicini is guilty of repeatedly endangering his shipmates, his nation, and all our allies, I believe that he should also receive the death penalty. Again, it is unlikely that he will.


What is your opinion? What do you believe Chief Pedicini’s sentence should be if he is convicted? Let us know here in the comments or at @piperbayard on X.



*Jay Holmes is a fifty-year veteran of the military and intelligence communities from the Cold War fight against the Soviets to the current Global War on Terror.