Money makes the world go ‘round

  • Published
  • By 460th Comptroller Squadron
  • 460th Comptroller Squadron

From the time of the Continental Army, the importance of a financial manager in the payment of entitlements has been widely known. On June 16, 1775, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Continental Congress established the first Pay Master General, James Warren. Today, most members primarily correlate our responsibilities to the financial operations function regarding military and travel pay; however, our role reaches far beyond what members encounter at the customer service offices. The second function of the Financial Management community is to manage budget and accounting operations for the entire service. This process starts with the development of a 5-year Future Years Defense Program (FYDP) that is codified by the passing of the National Defense Authorization Act signed into law each year by the President. This law reaches every aspect of our day-to-day lives from home station operations in garrison to supporting overseas contingency operations around the globe.

The Financial Manager’s role was cemented in the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990 which was set forth to: Bring more effective general and financial management practices to the Federal Government through statutory provisions which, among other things, establishes the Office of Management and Budget, and designated a Chief Financial Officer in each executive department. This provided for internal controls to assure the issuance of reliable financial information and to deter fraud, waste, and abuse of government resources. The reality was money was lost each year through fraud, waste, and abuse, along with mismanagement among the hundreds of programs in the Federal Government. The act also called for the production of complete, reliable, timely, and consistent financial information for use by the executive branch of the Government and the Congress in the financing, management, and evaluation of Federal programs. Fast forward to 2013 when the Air Force entered into a Financial Improvement and Audit Readiness posture in an effort to meet the Congressional mandate for the Department of Defense to be fully auditable by 2018, because with great power comes great responsibly.

How does this impact you? Great question! Our mission is to provide resources, financial services, and decision support to deliver air, space, and cyber capabilities for our nation. Whether it is facilities you use, Basic Life Support services on the installation, or the supplies and tools within your office, it took thousands of man hours to plan, program, and procure each service and/or commodity. All this so that the lights turn on when you flip a switch, the training necessary to create technical experts is available, and the equipment and tools necessary to perform your job are ready for you when you need them.

Those members who have experienced life in the contingency environment may be surprised to know that many times those locations manage large cash operations to ensure those same functions happen without fail. Meaning at any one time a single financial manager may have tens of millions of dollars in cash under their control. So next time you don your gear, pick up a tool, use a printer, log into your workstation, or ride in government transportation remember… your friendly neighborhood Financial Manager made that possible. Because in words of Liza Minnelli, “Money makes the world go ‘round.”