REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. - The U.S. Army Security Assistance Command's G-8 (Resource Management) finance division designed, crafted and implemented a unique Foreign Military Sales specific web-based help desk for the General Funds Enterprise Business Systems, commonly known as GFEBS.

The web-based help desk is not only available to all USASAC resource managers using GFEBS, but also to numerous organizations and locations that support Army FMS.

"This tailored FMS GFEBS business system is used in support of specific FMS assistance in order to provide quick response and relevant real time information to USASAC Country Program Managers and accounting divisions system wide," USASAC GFEBS Program Manager John Sanders said.

GFEBS is an enterprise resource planning system that offers real time visibility for Army financial transactions for Army funds dealing with FMS transactions. GFEBS also integrates financial, real property, and actual cost data with related output from organizations across the Army FMS system. There are so many processes that are FMS-specific, that this FMS help desk assists its users with getting the changes and documentation needed to tailor them specifically to FMS needs of both the user and the customer.

FMS funding is different because it comes from foreign customer funds (under Title 22), rather through Congressional (Title 10) funding. The distinct difference is that funding sources necessitated many process changes in GFEBS during the planning, integration, executing, monitoring and controlling stages.

"The Tier II Help Desk has been an integral part of the FMS community's successful transition to GFEBS," Sanders noted.

The GFEBS FMS (Tier II) help desk was launched on Jan. 1, 2013. As part of the launch, the USASAC GFEBS team held two four-day working group meetings for its users. More than 100 employees from various organizations attended each workshop. The first workshop taught employees how to use FMS Activity Based Costing and how to build work-breakdown structures based on the FMS Activity Code Dictionary for better accountability of funds to the customer. The second workshop focused on how to zero out funds for the end of the fiscal year.

"We are especially proud of the workshops," Sanders said. "They helped us get our GFEBS FMS-specific system off to a successful start and attendees gave us a 90 percent approval rating when surveyed.

To date, the GFEBS FMS help desk has cleared more than 3,100 help desk tickets. Overall, this system helps users with building sales orders, purchase requisitions, building reports, all while using the data base structure. It also assists FMS customers who process and execute FMS cases with labor costs and planning.

USASAC's help desk is so exceptional in routing FMS-specific web-based financial system queries and answers that Sanders stated, "This system will one day be the future of Army help desk systems."

The USASAC FMS GFEBS help desk has helped all the Army Material Command lifecycle management commands and other organizations that are part of, or support, the Army Security Assistance Enterprise. These range from Army Installation Management Command, to Defense Finance and Accounting Service the the Program Executive Offices and even USASAC's Office of the Program Manager-Saudi Arabian National Guard, or OPM-SANG, in Riyadh.

USASAC's GFEBS system is supported by two other tiers. The GFEBS Tier III help desk located in Virginia owns the remedy system that pushes FMS-related issues to FMS Tier II help desks via a remedy ticket. There are several Tier I help desks at Army commands that handle daily internal trouble ticket requests.

Currently, only four people man the GFEBS help desk with three at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., and one in New Cumberland, Pa.

"But credit goes to the entire USASAC GFEBS team. The research and development by five Army civilians and two contractors were critical to standing-up a GFEBS FMS-specific system and making this possible," Sanders added.