Navy chief charged with espionage

by Vern Evans

A Navy chief is facing espionage and other criminal charges over allegations that he delivered classified information to a foreign contact in 2022 and 2023.

Chief Fire Controlman (Aegis) Bryce Steven Pedicini faces eight espionage charge specifications for alleged crimes that occurred between November 2022 and May, according to a copy of his charge sheet obtained by Navy Times.

Pedicini is the first sailor to be charged with espionage in at least the past five years, according to the Navy’s Office of the Judge Advocate General

Currently assigned to the Japan-based destroyer Higgins, Pedicini has been held in pre-trial confinement since May, according to Navy records.

He could not be reached for comment, and the Navy’s defense attorney office did not respond to a Navy Times request for comment from his appointed attorney.

Pedicini is accused of delivering a classified national defense document to “a citizen and employee of a foreign government” on Nov. 22, 2022, in Hampton Roads, Virginia, and that the chief had “reason to believe that it would be used to the injury of the United States and the advantage of a foreign nation,” his charge sheet states.

The charge sheet does not state which foreign nation Pedicini allegedly worked with.

But the chief is also accused of delivering similar classified information to a foreign contact seven other times, with the most recent alleged occurrence taking place on May 17 in Yokosuka, Japan.

Two days later, on May 19, Pedicini was placed in pre-trial confinement, according to his charge sheet.

Pedicini is also accused of wrongly transporting information he believed to be classified, and for processing material he believed to be classified “on a system that was not approved for classified material” in May in Yokosuka, his charge sheet states.

Prosecutors also allege he failed to report a foreign contact in Yokosuka in April, and that he failed “to report solicitation of classified information by an unauthorized person.”

Pedicini is also accused of taking a personal electronic device into a secure room aboard Barge APL-67 in Yokosuka in May, according to his charge sheet.

He also faces multiple charge specifications for communicating defense information to foreign contacts from December 2022 to May in Hampton Roads.

Naval Surface Forces declined further comment on the ongoing case.

Pedicini had a motions hearing scheduled for Wednesday of this week, and officials have not said when his trial is scheduled to begin.

Charges were brought against the chief in January, and the head of Naval Surface Forces, Vice Adm. Brendan McLane, is the convening authority in the case.

A Tennessee native, Pedicini enlisted in 2008 and advanced to chief in 2022, according to his service record.

He reported to Higgins in April and was also assigned to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center in Norfolk, Virginia, during the time of his alleged crimes.

Pedicini also served aboard the destroyers Curtis Wilbur and McFaul earlier his career.

Geoff is the editor of Navy Times, but he still loves writing stories. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at geoffz@militarytimes.com.

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