According to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), a former U.S. Navy chief petty officer has been handed an 18-year military prison sentence for attempted espionage and failing to obey orders. This case adds to a string of notable spying incidents involving Navy personnel, marking the most severe prison term among them.

Charges and Background

Chief Fire Controlman (Aegis) Bryce Steven Pedicini was charged in January with several counts of attempted espionage for mishandling or leaking classified information.

Involvement with Aegis Combat System

Pedicini, once part of a destroyer crew, was involved with the Aegis combat system, the Navy’s leading integrated radar and weapons control platform. This sophisticated technology is highly confidential and shared only with America’s closest allies. Advanced Aegis systems can intercept ballistic missiles in mid-flight, and Pedicini’s LinkedIn profile described him as a “ballistic missile computer technician.”

Espionage Activities

While assigned to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center (MARMAC) in Norfolk in 2022, Pedicini reportedly passed classified documents to a “foreign government employee and national” on seven occasions under the guise of writing “research papers” for a private party. According to NCIS, foreign adversaries often use “research paper” requests as a tactic to pay servicemembers for classified national defense information.

In 2023, Pedicini allegedly entered a secure information room aboard a Navy barge with a personal electronic device while serving on the destroyer USS Higgins in Yokosuka. He then purportedly attempted to transfer photographs of a high-security computer screen to a foreign government employee.

Arrest and Conviction