By Cpl. Jordan JohnsonApril 28, 2012
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait -- Third Army hosted a General Fund Enterprise Business System Senior Leader's Summit at the Area Support Group -- Kuwait headquarters here April 23-27.
GFEBS is the Army's new web-enabled financial, asset, and accounting management system that standardizes, streamlines and shares critical data across the active Army, Army National Guard and the Army Reserve, per the Army's GFEBS website. To implement the new system, dozens of personnel were invited to the conference.
"We tried to get the right balance of senior leadership and folks at the operational and tactical level so we can achieve the objectives of this senior leader summit," said Brig. Gen. Thomas Horlander, Third Army/ARCENT director of resource management and Tacoma, Wash. native.
To get the proper balance of financial experts, Brig. Gen. Horlander invited personnel from a number of different locations.
"We have representation from across the theater and from a lot of the enterprise actors, primarily located in Washington, D.C.," said Brig. Gen. Horlander.
The summit held additional meaning because using the GFEBS here marked a milestone for the Army, Brig. Gen. Horlander said.
"We are actually the last location in the Army to field GFEBS, so this is it for the U.S. Army to get this new system out across the entire Army," he said. "This will allow us to be auditable and to do a better job of cost management and managing our resources."
However, change doesn't come without risks attached, said Brig. Gen. Stephen B. Leisenring, deputy commander, U.S. Central Command Joint Theater Support Contract Command said.
"The greatest challenges for implementing GFEBS in theater are with training our workforce, both in resource management and the contracting community, as well as training our requiring activities in how to use the system," Brig. Gen. Leisenring said.
In the long run, dealing with the challenges is worth implementing the system, Brig. Gen. Leisenring stated.
"It will take a little bit of time to transition to a new system, but the benefits, once we transition, will far outweigh the additional training responsibility and requirement," said Brig. Gen. Leisenring.
Implementation of GFEBS will not only involve work amongst Servicemembers, but will be a collaborative effort with civilians as well.
"We are supporting our teammates in the Army and here we'll have some vendor-pay technicians," said Aaron Gillison, acting director, Defense Finance and Accounting Service -- Indianapolis. "We'll also have some managerial accountants that come from DFAS."
As the Army begins using GFEBS, DFAS will see its roles change, Gillison stated.
"With GFEBS, some of the processes we do today will go back to the Army," stated Gillison. "We'll retain quite a few of the processes, so we have to adjust our workforce. We'll go from more of a technician based workforce to a lot more of an analytical workforce."
Even though implementing a new system will cause a few headaches, Gillison said he enjoys his relationship with U.S. Army Central.
"This is about my eighth time in theater," Gillison said. "I enjoy supporting the Army wherever it may go and it's always a joy to come to ARCENT."
For three days, Gillison and approximately 90 others senior leaders converged here to prepare for the roll out of GFEBS. Brig. Gen. Horlander said implementing the system without the summit would be hard to picture.
"I can't imagine us trying to do this [implement GFEBS] without this meeting," stated Brig. Gen. Horlander.
Third Army is shaping the future by preparing its leaders to use GFEBS, ultimately saving precious resources and taxpayer dollars.