Today’s Army is undergoing the most significant transformational change since the 1970s. Every fiber of today’s Army is changing, whether it is how we modernize for future warfare, train for a vast complexity of missions and combat environments, manage our people, or take care of our families. Few remember the days when the Army’s five key weapons platforms (AH-64 Apache helicopter, UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter, M1 Abrams tank, M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle and the PATRIOT air defense system) were shiny and new and Soldiers were doing physical training in combat boots. Those systems, while extremely capable and revered by our enemies for half a century, are now older and our peer competitors have caught up and, in some cases, surpassed some of the Army’s current capabilities.The Army has set a course for fundamental change in how we prepare and conduct war. As part of this process, Army Futures Command was established, and it realigned and integrated key components of the modernization continuum, nesting them into a single focused unity of effort that will accelerate and enhance the way we fight and equip our formations. To manage its people and their talents, the Army is transforming an Industrial Age Personnel Management System to an Information Age Talent Management System. To prepare for combat, the Army has refocused the enterprise from a singular focus on counterinsurgency operations in the U.S. Central Command area of operations to conducting large-scale combat operations (LSCO) and Multi- Domain Operations (MDO) against peer competitors, like Russia and China, while maintaining those competencies needed in the current fight in Southwest Asia.Ongoing changes described above and those on the horizon should not be the only catalysts that drive change in our profession. While the U.S. Army Finance and Comptroller (FC) profession must change in order to support our commanders and remain a key and valued component of the joint force and the sustainment warfighter function, we must also embrace new competencies required by the Information Age. We must change or we will perish. To remain static in the 20th Century way of doing business is not an option. Our country and our Army need us to be better. Better members of the sustainment warfighting function. Better stewards of the nation’s fiscal resources. Better unified as a multifunctional, multicomponent (Active, National Guard, and Reserve) team that integrates the comptroller and financial operations competencies into a singular unity of effort that will optimize our contributions to the force and renders an even higher return on investment than what we currently have.The most important component to successfully changing any organization at any echelon is solid and talented leaders and Soldiers who, together as a team, support a singular unity of effort. Every leader and Soldier in our profession must embrace these transformational changes to our profession and focus on our future.Progress to Date So what have we done in the last two years? Thanks to the support and leadership of several key leaders across the enterprise: Effective Oct. 1, 2019, we changed the name of the profession and the branch to Finance and Comptroller to represent the true nature of our competencies and contributions to the force and to make clear to the whole Army that this profession covers a wide breadth of missions and functions.Effective Oct. 1, 2019, we changed the name of the schoolhouse to the U.S. Army Finance and Comptroller School, again to represent the true nature of the school’s mission and what it contributes to the Total Army. In coordination with the Sgt. Maj. of the Army (SMA), we have established the senior sergeant major (SGM) position for our profession (effective Oct. 1, 2019)—U.S. Army Finance and Comptroller Sergeant Major—a nominative assignment assigned to the Army’s senior military finance and comptroller position, a 3-star general officer. The SGM filling this position will serve not only to provide advice to the FC senior leaders across the enterprise, and provide guidance and leadership to the Army’s FC noncommissioned officer (NCO) and enlisted corps, but will advise the SMA on all things about our profession to include helping manage the talent of our senior NCOs. We have started rewriting our doctrine to lay out how we support how the Army fights and sustains the warfighter in LSCO and MDO in joint environments.We have started updating our force structure to better support LSCO and MDO. Our current force structure of financial management support detachment, financial management support unit, and financial management support center is confusing and suboptimal. We are seeking to replace it with companies, battalions, and a colonel-/SGM-level element. We need our formations to be like Army formations across the force with captains and first sergeants at the company level, lieutenant colonels and command sergeants (CSM) major at the battalion level; and colonels and CSM/ SGMs at the 06 level. This is a difficult task to accomplish; but this is the end state we must achieve to reduce confusion, maintain relevance, and support our commanders.We have changed our core competencies to include: counter threat financing, big data analytics, auditing, and fiscal stewardship. And over time, when the Army has fully fielded the Integrated Personnel and Pay System–Army (IPPS-A) and as the human resource profession has assumed full responsibility for Soldier pay, we will fully divest ourselves of the military pay competency.We have started changing how we employ our NCO and enlisted Soldiers, placing them in positions of greater responsibility across our G8/Comptroller formations, starting at the lower ranks. We owe this to our commanders and the Army. We also owe this to our FC Soldiers who want to serve in our Army and make a valuable contribution to our country.We have aligned the Army’s only FC general officer command—U.S. Army Finance Command—under Army Materiel Command (AMC) to ensure we optimize and stay nested in the sustainment warfighter function, which is the responsibility of the AMC commanding general.The Way AheadChange is hard at any level. It is especially difficult to simultaneously exact change at multiple levels. Transformation is exactly that, making a series of integrated changes that nest with one another to achieve a more optimal solution given a relatively fixed amount of resources. I have a full appreciation for the difficulty of making such a profound change to our profession but the future of our Army and our profession depends on it.The next two years will be especially important to the joint force and for our Army on several fronts, including the transformation of the FC operations that support our commands and warfighters. The Army’s FC school commandant is leading the rewrite of our doctrine and the forthcoming joint publication for sustainment operations. As we mature our four new core competencies, we will change what our officers, NCOs, and enlisted Soldiers will learn in our schoolhouse. The force design updates to change our company- and battalion-level formations is currently in staffing at the Army level; this is a ‘heavy lift’ but this change is fundamental to our success in how we support our commands and the role and functions we have in the sustainment warfighting function. We are also working to have more NCOs and Soldiers in the G8/Comptroller shops to manage budgets and perform more comptroller functions at the higher echelons, like U.S. Army Forces Command or Headquarters, Department of the Army. The road ahead will not be easy. There will be setbacks. There will be course corrections. There will be interim solutions. But Rome was not built in a day. We must do this. While transformational change is dauntingly hard, the alternative is to become irrelevant and extinct. One thing will carry us to the top of the mountain: you!-----------------------------Lt. Gen. Thomas A. Horlander serves as the Army's military comptroller and military deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Financial Management & Comptroller). He has held numerous financial management and comptroller positions at every level throughout his career in the Department of Defense. He holds several master's degrees in various disciplines, is a U.S. Army master strategist and linguist, and has published numerous books and articles. He is a sitting member of the American Society of Military Comptrollers CDFM Certification Commission.-----------------------------This article was published in the April-June 2020 issue of Army Sustainment.RELATED LINKSArmy Sustainment homepageThe Current issue of Army Sustainment in pdf formatCurrent Army Sustainment Online ArticlesConnect with Army Sustainment on LinkedInConnect with Army Sustainment on Facebook