A U.S. Army Security Assistance Command financial specialist in the G8, or resource management office, has been selected to attend Syracuse University's prestigious Defense Comptrollership Program.

David Carmody, an Army veteran who works at USASAC's New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, office, applied for the 14-month program, which is a cooperative endeavor between Syracuse and the Department of Defense, for the opportunity to earn a master of business degree and an executive master of public administration degree.

"Senior leadership encourages the DCP because they've had success with previous selectees coming back to the organization and doing great things," he said. "I've always wanted to further my education, and USASAC provided the means to do so."

Carmody stressed the importance of USASAC's mission of security assistance and Foreign Military Sales in building partner capacity that will enhance the U.S. military's strategic readiness through interoperability and regional security support. Because international partners are funding the materiel they receive, resource management plays a key role in executing the mission.

"This agency deals with many of our allies for all kinds of things, ranging from training to medical supplies, to ammunition and equipment," he said. "G8 is a small part with a big impact. … G8 is responsible for the dollars and cents behind the contracts, making sure the money matches and goes where it is supposed to. The USASAC G8, at New Cumberland and Redstone (Arsenal), plays a huge behind-the-scenes part in the function that is FMS," Carmody said.

Carmody's supervisor, Jim Bliss, chief, Financial Case Management Branch, suggested he apply and provided his recommendation.

"He is an excellent employee with outstanding potential for future service as a senior resource manager. As we say here at USASAC, 'Our people are our strategic advantage,'" Bliss said.

As a financial specialist, Carmody reviews FMS cases line-by-line for financial implementation and does emergency funding when needed.

"There have been times when it was necessary to come in to the office late on a Friday night, and then early Saturday morning to ensure that ammunition could get delivered to a theater of operations," he said.

Drive and determination are also what pushed Carmody to apply for DCP. He began the process last June, and had to take the Graduate Management Admission Test. The program stresses having a strong background in mathematics such as advanced algebra, calculus, statistics and accounting.

"David was selected (as the USASAC nominee to the program) because of his outstanding record of performance and excellent academic background," Bliss said. "He has a bachelor's degree from Penn State University with a major in political science."

But after being out of school for six years, Carmody was not sure he was prepared for the GMAT.

However, in typical Carmody-fashion, he made time to study and met all the program requirements.

"The fact that I'm a GS-9 didn't mean much to me. Since the program accepts GS-9s, I figured I had a chance."

But Carmody knows from his time in the Army that chance is only part of it.

"The Army stresses things like accountability, personal growth and big picture tasks. In the Army on the enlisted side, if you want to advance to the next rank, sergeant to staff sergeant, staff sergeant to sergeant first class, you need to go to school. It is not just handed to you -- moving up takes time and energy," he said. "If you hope to stand out among your peers, you need to show something -- no one is going to do it for you."

Carmody also credits Army noncommissioned officers and officers he served under with providing him guidance and leadership to make smart career choices, citing everything from learning from mistakes, to taking advantage of education opportunities and preparing his own promotion package. He learned "'that's how we've always done it,' was never an acceptable answer."

"Just because it was comfortable did not mean it was correct," he noted.

Former Staff Sgt. Carmody uses the Army values and a "lead from the front" attitude to impact change and make things better.

"Ideas are great. They can be passed up the chain, but the people at the top drive the policy that the people at the bottom live by," he said. "I want to remember where I came from and hopefully make whatever organization I am at better."

He sees the biggest challenge ahead not being the school work, but the time away from his wife.
"While no one is shooting at me or trying to blow me up, I'm still not looking forward to being away from home," he said.

But the investment will be worth the benefits gained both personally and professionally, and only add to USASAC's reputation of having a well-trained and experienced workforce.

"This program will add more than I can use. The education at Syracuse is one of the best in the country and I know there is a great deal of opportunity to gain knowledge from the other selectees in the class. I hope to bring different perspectives and a modern knowledge back with me to USASAC."

His supervisor fully agrees with Carmody's assessment of his future.

"When David graduates from Syracuse in 2018, it will have been 30 years after I graduated (Bliss graduated from the Army Comptrollership Program at Syracuse University, MBA, 1988). So, I feel good about a handoff to the next generation of resource managers," Bliss said.