FORT JACKSON, SC -- Mary Sally Matiella, newly installed assistant secretary of the Army (Financial Management and Comptroller), visited Fort Jackson's Soldier Support Institute recently in an attempt to gain a better understanding of the Army Financial Management Corps.

"I was truly impressed by Ms. Matiella and her desire to understand how financial management Soldiers, NCOs and officers are training in their essential technical skills," said Brig. Gen. Mark McAlister, commanding general of the SSI.

During her May 7 visit, Matiella joined Soldiers for lunch in the 369th Adjutant General Battalion dining facility and visited other portions of the unit, stopping inside a barracks to see where Advanced Individual Training Soldiers live. Matiella also toured the post's privatized housing areas, and viewed new construction juxtaposed against the old, prompting her to comment on the tremendous improvements that were under way.

Matiella also observed Financial Management AIT in progress in a classroom setting, then toured the Warrior Training Area. The facility replicates a deployed forward operating base, which is used to reinforce classroom instruction in a simulated real-world environment.

"It is exhilarating to see the amount of quality effort dedicated to Financial Management training," Matiella said. "My visit to Fort Jackson reinforces my belief in our continued dedication to creating a professional military and civilian workforce."

SSI intends to establish the Warrior Training Area as the financial management equivalent to Fort Irwin's National Training Center, making a rotation there standard prior to deployment. As head of the Army's financial managers, Matiella is responsible for deciding whether to formalize this pre-deployment training.

McAlister said he considered the visit a success.

"The time Ms. Matiella spent at the Soldier Support Institute will pay definite dividends in that it is critical for senior leaders to understand the challenges faced by the Army training community on a daily basis," McAlister said.