Whitman executive education for the department of defense: a partnership between the department of defense and Syracuse University results in a vital, challenging program for DoD financial managers.

Author:Berg, David B.

What are the answers in the uncertain, complex, ambiguous, and volatile world of resource/financial management? The simple answer is that we really do not know. Success in the future of our profession is not so much about knowing the answers but about being able to frame the right questions, critically examine the underlying assumptions, and possess a tool kit of knowledge and skills that will enable us to provide viable options to our commanders. As we progress in grade, rank, and position, it is important that we not only possess the analytical skills but also understand their relationship to the policy and political realities both inside and outside the Department of Defense (DoD).


Success in our business evolves from expertise in the hard analytics of budget, manpower, accounting, costing, and auditing to the soft arts of influencing, consensus building, and being change agents. Moving from an input orientation to an outcome orientation is a difficult journey that requires training, education, experience, and great mentoring. No one can do it alone and the best of us are humble enough to admit it and take the time to pay back to those who follow our footsteps. This is what the various programs at Syracuse University seek to accomplish.

The following are some examples of the current issues that we explore at Syracuse University's Whitman School of Management and Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs:

* What is the resource impact of the recent change in the National Guard Bureau (NGB)? Given the budgetary shortfalls across the various states, should the NGB be given its own procurement accounts? What would be the impact?

* Is the large number of military retirees entering the CP-11 career field a problem? What is the impact on the civilian workforce? If a problem, what are the solutions?

* How can resource managers better control cost-type contracts?

* What is the correct balance between in sourcing and outsourcing? Is the new Office of Management and Budget definition of inherently governmental a help, or does it further complicate the issue?

* Should the U.S. Government establish a central national security budget and then allocate money by responsibilities, breaking with the current arrangement of letting departments and agencies decide how best to arrange their budgets? What are the institutional and political challenges?

* How can efficiency reductions be better analyzed and the risk of bad...

To continue reading