Sgt. Maj. Bryan Battaglia, a senior adviser to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told military families at Fort Benning on Wednesday to prepare the home front for a more lean armed forces.
Speaking with his wife, Lisa, at his side, Battaglia told the soldiers and their spouses that when the military tightens its belt, the families of service members must tighten their belts. Battaglia was speaking at the Military Family Summit sponsored by the Congressional Military Family Caucus and U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, a Georgia Democrat who represents Fort Benning. More than 300 people attended the conference at the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center.
“I could paint a rosy picture, but I am telling you that you are going to see more challenges,” said Battaglia, a career U.S. Marine whose last contact with Fort Benning came at the Airborne School. “One of the driving forces is the budget, but this is not the first time we have been here. ... And at times it will test our strength and our trust.”
Lisa Battaglia had a simple message for military spouses who will be dealing with many of the financial and family issues caused or exaggerated by the Department of Defense force reduction.
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“I always find myself trying to control the things that I can control,” Lisa said. “With the financial situation, you live within your means and you try to keep your marriage strong.”
The Battaglias have been married for more than 27 years.
Kim Diano, whose husband, Oscar, is an officer assigned to the Armor School at Fort Benning, said it was important for military families to have an opportunity to find avenues of help from programs like this week’s summit.
“It is extremely important for family members to participate,” Diano said.
Fort Benning is the Diano's sixth post in eight years of marriage. With children ages 6, 4 and 2, Diano said her primary concerns are healthcare and education.
“Fort Benning is very family centered,” she said. “I am not saying the other posts were not.”