DoD Comptroller gives update on Financial Management Certification Program

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

The new DoD Financial Management (FM) Certification Program will increase “the credibility of the Defense Department in general and the DoD Financial Management Community in particular,” according to Bob Hale, Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), DoD’s Chief Financial Officer. 

In an online update on the status of the certification program, Hale writes that the certification program will have a “positive effect” on the FM workforce.  It will provide broader competence and knowledge, increased opportunities for career development, assistance in career planning, and professional credentials.

He is quick to point out that most of today’s financial managers are well trained and “are doing a great job meeting the financial management needs of the Department and its warfighters.”  The goal of the certification program, he says, is to “make our good workforce even better.” 

Both DoD and Congress want to improve the existing training program to meet today’s challenges and needs, Hale says.  The program must be able to adapt to the changing needs of the department by putting the right type of training when and where most needed.  It should also have a framework to help newer workers determine what kind of training best suits their career path. 

Hale emphasizes it was not necessary or cost efficient to develop a new certification program.  The concept was to make better use of existing training and provide additional opportunities in new areas.  The program uses the Defense Acquisition Improvement Act (DAWIA) and the acquisition workforce as a model for the program, focusing on the special needs of financial management.

Under the program, all FM workers (including all 05XX civilian Occupational Series and all military Finance or Comptroller occupational specialties) will be coded level 1, Level 2, or Level 3; with Level 1 as the basic level.  Each level will carry a minimum experience requirement.  Level 1 will require two years of DoD FM experience, Level 2 four years (two in DoD), and Level 3 eight years (six in DoD).  FM professionals will have 24 months to become certified. 

The program will be competency based using the 23 FM enterprise-wide competencies.  Certain competencies/proficiencies will be set for each level and required courses will be identified.  Leadership competencies and required leadership courses will also be identified for each level.

Although the program will impose no education requirements, it will recommend work to a Bachelor’s degree for Level 2 and “strongly” recommend work to achieve a Master’s degree for Level 3.  A  DoD FM 101 course that includes a variety of modules will be available online for use by all DoD FM personnel.

The program will have no requirement for achieving an FM-related test-based certification (e.g., CPA, CMA, CDFM, and CGFM).  However, it will recommend completion of one DoD-approved Test-based Certification Program at Level 2 and “strongly” recommends completion of one at Level 3.  On an ongoing basis, once certification is achieved, the program will require completion of continuing professional education (CPE) every two years:  Level 1—40 CPEs; Level 2—60 CPEs; and Level 3—80 CPEs.

Hale stresses that the certification program will institute developmental assignments that will allow FM workers to broaden their experience by working outside areas of expertise.  The program will also recommend one three-month developmental assignment for Level 2 and require one three-year assignment for Level 3.

According to Hale , his office is currently preparing a draft DoD Directive and DoD Instruction.  Pilot programs will be created in some Components this summer and fall and DOD will move to larger-scale implementation in 2013.

12 Responses to “DoD Comptroller gives update on Financial Management Certification Program”

  • Nice Article and this certification will increase production in workforce and will be accepted by the Students or People.

  • Kathleen Knese says:

    Three years isn’t a developmental assignment, it’s a regular job. No boss in their right mind would let you do a developmental assignment in another department for 3 years. Maybe they meant 3 months?

  • Dee Anna Pryor says:

    In the “online update” link as noted above the Honorable Robert F. Hale Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)/Chief Financial Officer does state 3 months of developmental assignment.

  • Robert Shue says:

    The comment regarding the time pertiod for the developmental assignment is correct. The time period proposed for a developmental assignment under the certification program is “three-months,” as stated in Mr. Hale’s statement. The Defense Highlights article has been changed to reflect the correction.

  • Michael Brozyna says:

    I have more certifications than I can count. Yet, I freely admit, there is so much more that I should know. Relying on certifications is a start, but more math skills should be stressed to perform analysis beyond basic multiplying and dividing.

  • Lynn says:

    As an employee with almost 30 years of civil service experience (20 in FM type work) I feel rather insulted that I don’t fit into any of the new Professional Development plans. When I follow the requirements tree, when you get to experience, I no longer am qualified for any of the programs. Because of my age (not 50 yet) it will be many years before I can retire.

  • Nessie Martin says:

    I hope part of the plan is to always have available online courses to take, especially when more and more commands are not budgeting enough to get their employees trained. It’s about time the DoD has a solid training plan for its FM community. The credit goes to Mr. Hale and his group.

  • Bill says:

    Any supervisor ought to be test base certified – one which is recognized in and outside of DoD. Especially those expected to produce auditable financial statements (ACOMs, DRUs, and ASCCs. How else are we to comply with the CFO act and acheive respect in the greater governmental FM and congressional oversight communities.

  • Sara says:

    Applauding the program in general–however, I agree that there should be additional delineation for leadership billets which require higher standards. Education and accredited certifications need to be imposed/mandated at some point in the roll out of this program IOT provide an external ‘audit’ of the individuals capabilities.

  • Tyra White says:

    Sounds like the program will be really good. However, it appears the program is only for 5 series FM positions. I’m wondering if Program Analyst and Management Analyst working in FM will be considered for the program.

  • Naomi Danielson says:

    With all the cuts and reorgs going on, really?

  • Charlotte says:

    I agree with you Naomi. My pay check is being cut next month. But, congress agreed to spend billions on training a reduce work force.

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