Finance Soldiers prove valuable resource
April 29, 2014
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (April 29, 2014) -- A second wave of Soldiers in the finance management military occupational specialty are arriving at select Mission and Installation Contracting Command offices to help fill a critical capabilities gap while at the same time gaining valuable developmental skills training.
Soldiers are being assigned this and next fiscal year to one of seven MICC locations, including Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Fort Carson, Colorado; Fort Drum, New York, Fort Stewart, Georgia, Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and Fort Hood and Fort Bliss in Texas.
About a dozen Soldiers making up the first rotation arrived at MICC offices in November 2013 and are completing their six-month developmental assignments at the end of April. A second wave of financial management technicians began arriving over the last two weeks.
"A brief overlap is purposely built into the rotation schedule in order for the incoming FM Soldiers to work with the outgoing Soldiers prior to their departure," said Sgt. 1st Class Adam Clemens, a plans non-commissioned officer with the MICC Future Operations Office.
Clemens said the pilot program initiative was initially forged between the Army Budget Office and Army Contracting Command to develop a pool of approximately 70 financial management Soldiers to assist the financial management and contracting communities. U.S. Army Forces Command officials formalized the effort by issuing orders in September 2013.
"The purpose of the program is to enhance the Army's financial management Soldier's core resource management competencies by first sending them to Defense Finance and Accounting Service-Rome (New York) for hands-on training, then attaching them to corps and division resource management and contacting offices for six months of intense on-the-job training," said Paul Boyce, a spokesperson for FORSCOM. "It's a win-win for everyone involved. Our warriors hone their skills and the resource management and contracting offices receive a valuable asset to assist with their day-to-day workload,"
Boyce explained that participation in the program is driven by the Army Force Generation deployment cycle of financial management support units as well as required military pay services by the garrison in support of the DFAS.
Financial management technicians, who serve as a link between procurement and the DFAS, arrive possessing limited to basic levels of skill with the General Fund Enterprise Business System. GFEBS is an Army web-enabled financial, asset and accounting management system that shares data across Army components. It also integrates enterprise-wide procurement management capabilities in use at contracting offices across the MICC.
Julie Smith, an accountant with DFAS-Rome, said FORSCOM officials sought assistance from the DFAS-Rome to help develop a curriculum for a training course for Soldiers identified for developmental assignments.
"We had a DFAS Managerial Accountant Course already designed to train Soldiers deploying to theater," Smith said. "We facilitated a working group to revamp the training course."
She said that working group consisted of representation from FORSCOM, DFAS-Rome, DFAS-Indianapolis, MICC and the functional GFEBS training team from the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Financial Management and Comptroller.
The first two week-long classes were conducted at DFAS-Rome in October 2013 and this month. They included instruction from various organizational representatives to include the MICC's Len Ambrosio and Ray Strother, procurement analysts at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, and MICC-Fort Bragg, North Carolina, respectively. Clemens said the training included classes on Army Financial Management Systems, GFEBS line of accounting and end-to-end spending chain, basic contracting courses, Wide Area Workflow, and invoicing. Soldiers are required to pass an end-of-course exam upon completion of the training.
The final class is tentatively scheduled for October 2014, after which a third rotation of Soldiers will begin arriving at MICC offices.
"Upon completion of the three waves of training, this pilot program will be evaluated by FORSCOM and ACC to determine the effectiveness and value of the program," Clemens said. "This evaluation will be used to decide the possibility of future rotational developmental cycles with MICC offices."
The MICC is responsible for providing contracting support for the warfighter at Army commands, installations and activities located throughout the continental United States and Puerto Rico. In fiscal 2013, the command executed more than 43,000 contract actions worth more than $5.3 billion across the Army, including more than $2.1 billion to American small businesses. The command has also managed more than 780,000 Government Purchase Card Program transactions in the fiscal year valued at an additional $880 million.