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Announcing the 2014-2015 Corporate Members of the Year

Friday, April 24th, 2015

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This award recognizes Corporate Members for outstanding contributions made to a local Chapter and the National Organization in the furtherance of the goals of the chapter and the society. Congratulations to this year's winners!

 

CALIBRE – Distinguished Winner

Since its inception, CALIBRE has been a dedicated and active corporate member of the American Society of Military Comptrollers (ASMC) at both the local chapter and national level.  Employees attend ASMC events year-round for professional development purposes in the area of military comptrollership. Key leadership from CALIBRE attended every corporate breakfast and dinner program sponsored by the national office. CALIBRE encourages and promotes individual professional development for all of its employees through education, specialized training, certification, and professional memberships.  Continuing education is very important to CALIBRE and achieving an advanced degree or professional certification is thoroughly supported and encouraged.  95% of CALIBREs Subject Matter Experts in Financial Management are Certified Defense Financial Managers (CDFM).   In 2014, they were selected as one of the most promising data analytics consulting companies by CIOReview magazine and named one of the “Top Workplaces in the Greater Washington Area” by the Washington Post.

Deloitte- Distinguished Winner

Deloitte has been a member of the ASMC Land of Lincoln (LoL) Chapter and National ASMC for the past 29 years. The company has been constant supporters of the Land of Lincoln goals and those of the National organization through continued contributions of time and resources.  Deloitte continues to provide support over the years with their annual vendor booth to both the local Mini PDI and the National PDI providing updates to emerging issues within the Financial Community. The Deloitte staff at Scott AFB strongly advocates participation in the annual National PDI and local activities to all ASMC members, citing the importance of education, training, and networking throughout the FM community. Additionally, Deloitte has been a continuous monetary sponsor of the National PDI and provided several workshop speakers throughout their many years of membership. Deloitte staff has served on national committees and worked closely with ASMC staff thoughout their many years of membership. Staff has written articles for the Armed Forces Comptroller Journal, served as volunteers at the National PDI and supported Corporate breakfasts in the Washington DC area. They solicited their staff for membership,  annual fundraisers for local scholarships and participation in local chapter community service projects.  Their efforts resulted in corporate donations for the charitable golf tournament as well as volunteers for the local community service projects.

House Appropriations Committee approves FY2016 Military Construction funding

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

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Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee (HAC) approved FY2016 funding for Military Construction (included in the total Department of Defense (DoD) budget request) and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The MilCon/VA bill and the Energy appropriations bill were the first FY2016 appropriations bills to advance in the House. Noting the beginning of the appropriations season in the House, HAC chair Rep. Harold Rogers (R-KY) said this will be, I think, the earliest time in history, at least since 1974, that we will have marked up bills this early.” Rogers said he hopes both bills will be on the House floor next week.

The Military Construction portion of the MilCon/VA bill provides $7.151 billion for military construction projects, family housing, Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), and the NATO Security Investment Program. This amount is $1.3 billion less than the president’s request.

However, $532 million of this reduction was funded in the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) appropriation (Navy & Marine Corps $244 million, Air Force $75 million, and Defense-wide accounts $213 million). Therefore, the actual cut to requested military construction programs was $755 million.

The HAC bill would reduce the DoD funding request for active component military construction projects by $389 million (excluding funds transferred to OCO) and Guard and Reserve accounts by $39 million. The HAC bill would fully fund the request for Family Housing projects and existing Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC). The bill would also add $30 for the NATO Security Investment Program to support fixed and mobile infrastructure projects for NATO operations and $30 million to the Army for the construction of access roads.

The HAC bill also would rescind $386.5 million from prior appropriations Acts. 

The HAC took no action on the administration’s request to authorize another BRAC round as such an authorization is not under the committee’s jurisdiction.

DoD’s Better Buying Power 3.0 emphasizes innovation and technical excellence

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

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The Department of Defense (DoD) announced last week that Better Buying Power 3.0 is taking the next step in its efforts to improve the productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness of DoD’s acquisition and logistics and to achieve dominant capabilities.

Deputy Secretary Robert Work said at a press conference announcing BBP 3.0 that a major impetus for its implementation is “a steady erosion of our technological superiority that we have relied upon for so long in all of our defense strategies.” This is “one of the biggest issues facing our department and our nation,” he stressed. BBP 3.0 will provide “dominant capabilities to the warfighter to try to maintain that technological overmatch that we’ve always enjoyed and try to extend it if possible,” he said.

BBP 3.0 is the third iteration of DoD’s program to improve its acquisition process to get more from every acquisition dollar. BBP 1.0 (2010) stressed best practices and 2.0 (2013) emphasized critical thinking skills and better tools for the decision makers.

BBP 3.0 places a “stronger emphasis on innovation, technical excellence, and the quality of our products,” Frank Kendall, DoD’s Under Secretary for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics said in a memo implementing BBP 3.0. The overarching theme is “Achieving Dominant Capabilities through Technical Excellence and Innovation,” he said.

There are eight focus areas for achieving dominant capabilities: Achieve affordable programs; Achieve dominant capabilities while controlling costs; Incentivize productivity in industry and government; Incentivize innovation in industry and government; Eliminate unproductive processes and bureaucracy; Promote effective competition; Improve tradecraft in acquisition of services; and Improve the professionalism of the acquisition workforce. Some of these areas are “core” initiatives from earlier versions, some are expanded, and some are new. These areas contains over 30 initiatives.

Within these areas, BBP 3.0 sets goals for new focus initiatives. To Institutionalize Stronger DOD Level Long Range Program Plans, the Deputy Assistance Secretary of Defense will lead the development of the Long Range Research and Development Program Plan (LRRDPP) by July 15, 2015. The LRRDPP explores and develops “new technologies and approaches to warfighting.”

Cybersecurity issues will receive special attention. BBP 3.0 seeks to Strengthen Cybersecurity throughout the Product Lifecycle. Efforts will focus on ways to improve cybersecurity of system designs and methods to implement higher levels of protection for unclassified technical information. DoD components and the military services will develop a ways to link Intelligence, counterintelligence, law enforcement, and acquisition activities to improve protection of classified and unclassified technical information.

To Remove Barriers to Commercial Technology Utilization, DoD will assess the potential benefits from greater participation in consortium arrangements focused on innovation, establish a “Community of Practice” for faster acquisition of Commercial Off-the-Shelf products and commercial services, and evaluate possible legislative changes to give DOD greater access to commercial technology.

BBP 3.0 will also seek to increase the use of prototyping and experimentation to allow the exploration of innovative operational concepts, improve outreach to global markets for technology and products, strengthen organic engineering capabilities by more proactively managing the organic workforce, and use modular open systems to stimulate innovation. DoD will also promote outreach efforts to promote Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education and careers.

Kendall stressed implementing BBP 3.0 is even more important during the current period of financial constraint, especially with sequestration set to reengage in FY2016. “Getting as much buying power for the money as we possibly can is what this is all about,” Kendall said.

More detailed information is available on the Better Buying Power program website.

Congress returns to complete work on FY2016 budget resolution

Monday, April 13th, 2015

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Congress returns this week from its spring recess ready to complete action on the FY2016 Budget Resolution. The House and Senate passed their versions last month and must reconcile the differences.

The annual budget resolution sets revenue and spending targets for the tax writing and appropriations committees so they can begin work on the president’s budget request.  This is an internal congressional procedure and therefore the passed budget resolution is not sent to the president for approval. 

The House and Senate bills set the FY2016 total federal spending level at $3.8 trillion, reach a balanced budget in 10 years, and repeal Obamacare. The House bill would cut $5.5 billion in spending from the current policy level for FY2016-25, while the Senate proposes to reduce spending by $5.1 trillion over the next ten years. The difference is primarily due to the Senate’s smaller cut to nondefense discretionary spending.

The House and Senate bills do not change the requirement to return to sequestration in FY2016, even though most in Congress continue to decry effects of the across-the-board cuts, and keep discretionary spending caps in place.

For defense, both bills keep baseline national defense (DoD plus other defense-related spending such as the Department of Energy’s nuclear program) funding at the sequester level of $523 billion.

However, both bills propose to increase funding for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) as a way of increasing defense while staying within the statutory cap levels, because OCO funding is considered emergency spending. The House includes $96 billion for OCO, while the Senate bill set OCO funding at $89 billion. This $7 billion difference must be resolved in conference.

But, the $96 billion OCO in the House bill includes $6 billion OCO funding for the State Department. The $89 billion in the Senate bill (according to reports) does not include any OCO funding for State. So, it appears that there is only a $1 billion difference between the House and Senate bills for DoD, which should make resolution on DoD relatively easy.

There is one complicating factor to the House and Senate scheme to add defense funding while staying within the statutory caps. There is a Senate point of order against the bill that says any proposal to increase OCO spending above the requested level of $50.9 billion needs 60 votes in the Senate. With Republicans having only 54 Senate seats, six Democrats would have to join all Republicans to overrule the point of order to approve the higher defense amount. So, conferees will have to address this point of order issue.

April 15 is the target date for completing the budget resolution so the appropriations committees can begin crafting the 12 appropriations bills. House Budget Committee chair Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) and Senate Budget Committee chair Mike Enzi (R-WY) issued a joint press release last week in which they said they “look forward to the House-Senate beginning its work as early as next week, followed by congressional passage of a joint concurrent budget resolution for our nation.” It is unlikely that House and Senate conferees can compete their work by Wednesday, but there will be strong push by Republican leaders to pass a resolution so House appropriators can mark up some bills before memorial Day.

Congratulations to the winners of the 2014-15 Essay Contest

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

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This year's winners wrote essays on the current topic of: “What improvements are necessary in the resource management profession as resources and personnel continue to decline? Describe how to implement the proposed improvements.” Congratulations to the winners – and watch for the winning essays soon.

First Place

Christopher Babcock, National Guard Chapter

Chris Babcock is a Director with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC).  He has over twenty-five years of experience in federal and defense financial management, including expertise in budgeting and obligation / expenditure management and execution at Federal appropriation and Army command levels, as well as experience supporting multiple large-scale financial management and payroll/personnel ERP developments and implementations. Chris is also a retired Army financial management officer, with over 26 years of active and reserve officer and enlisted service.  He graduated Summa Cum Laude from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree, and obtained a Master of Business Administration degree through the Army Comptrollership Program at Syracuse University.  Chris is a Project Management Professional (PMP), a Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM), and a Certified Defense Financial Manager with Acquisition Specialty (CDFM-A).

Second Place

Major Mary Mangum, Aloha Chapter

Major Mary Mangum is currently the Chief of Base Integration for Financial Management Directorate, Pacific Air Forces, Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam, HI. She holds a BA from The George Washington University and a Masters from Websters University.  She has 10 years of resource management experience in program management and finance management for the US Air Force.  

Third Place

Cathy Ho, Mount Vernon Chapter

Cathy Ho is a Senior Financial Management Analyst working for the Cost & Resource Integration Division, Cost & Economics Directorate, ASA (Financial Management & Comptroller). Ms. Ho has 20 years of experience in the Army and OSD (C) providing expertise in auditing, budgeting, programming, cost benefit analysis, and financial management. She is a Certified Defense Financial Manager – Acquisition. Ms. Ho is also a Certified Chief Information Officer from National Defense University.

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