Exceptional stewards of resources--the Army's responsibility: focusing on cost management and promoting a culture of trust boils down to five principles defined by the author; but he never said it would be easy. ...

Author:Jones, S. Kyle
 
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The Global War on Terrorism produced significantly larger budgets for the Military Services to manage. The Army has received nearly $800 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding since fiscal year (FY) 2002 in order to achieve operational and strategic objectives in theater, in addition to the nearly $1.3 trillion in the base budget for its core missions over the same time period. As Figure 1 depicts, the Army budget peaked in FY 2008 at the height of the surge in Iraq and began to decline with the drawdown of forces in that area of operations. While the budget trend continues along a downward slope, the Army projects it will require additional OCO funding for two to three years beyond the end of the contingency operations to reset the force for its core missions.

Base OCO OCO Request Execution FY01 $78 FY02 $86 FY03 $123 FY04 $143 FY05 $167 FY06 $177 FY07 $221 FY08 $252 FY09 $235 FY10 $243 Appropriation FY11 $240 FY12 $203 Requests FY13 $185 Figure 1. FY 2001-2013 Army Budget (Base and OCO Funding) Note: Table made from bar graph. With the fiscal reality of a declining defense budget, the Department of Defense (DoD) recently implemented a new defense strategy, with renewed strategic "ends" along with the critical "ways" to achieve the strategy. The Department's senior leaders emphasized the reality of the challenges ahead, along with the imminent hard choices necessary to best allocate the "means" to achieve the strategic "ends." Not only must commanders prioritize the options, or "ways," to accomplish the ends, they must also, along with resource managers, prioritize the resources, or means, available to achieve their objectives.

Army leaders and resource managers must maintain diligence in efforts to identify and analyze requirements and resources at every level to provide sound resource advice to the commanders in the field. The outcome of this rigorous cost analysis should lead to the availability of affordable choices from which the Army's senior leaders and commanders may select in making resource-informed decisions.

Leading the campaign to strengthen financial management in the Army and help senior leaders to make the hard choices is the Honorable Dr. Mary Sally Matiella, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Financial Management and Comptroller (ASA (FM&C)). This significant undertaking by the ASA (FM&C) has the focus and support of the Army's senior leaders and now is a measurable objective in the Army's Campaign Plan. This article highlights many of Dr. Matiella's initiatives and identifies guiding principles in order for the Army to be successful.

Strengthening Financial Management

Ten years of war--and seemingly unlimited availability of resources--have introduced the perception of uncertainty into the DoD's ability to manage the nation's resources effectively. Now the Army must do its part to demonstrate an ability to be exceptional stewards of declining resources. This article identifies five principles that the Army should commit to in order to strengthen financial management actions: visibility, accountability, transparency, oversight, and controls.

Visibility

Visibility of resources enables leaders and commanders to make resource-informed decisions, and it enables resource...

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