From the Chief of the Corps, COL Eric F. Zellars
Over the past 16 months it has been an honor and a rewarding experience serving as the Commandant and Chief of the Finance Corps. I am pleased to announce the first edition (after a long break) of our new Diamond Points; a professional magazine for Financial Managers. We will have two productions annually – January and June. The January addition will consist of articles and pictures from Financial Management (FM) Soldiers and Civilians from around the Corps – the January edition is a digital publication only. The June addition will be similar to a high school yearbook with pictures from all Financial Management element/units throughout the Army with fewer articles. The June edition will contain a “roll-call, listing Finance Corps Association Members and their status (i.e. lifetime, etc.). While the June Diamond Points will be a digital publication, members of the Finance Corps Association may request a hardcopy.
In this message my goal is to highlight FM accomplishments, capabilities, and new developments. As we assess the past year accomplishments, the staff at the Financial Management School developed more than 17 FM training capabilities to enhance FM readiness across the operational force for Soldiers and Civilians. Each capability is designed to expand the wall if the institution at Fort Jackson to ensure training products impact the operational force as well as individual Soldier readiness. These capabilities includes Financial Management One-Stop; (our central FM web portal; this is a non-CAC site that contains links to all FM training and knowledge); Financial Management Network (FM Net is the central collaboration and knowledge dissemination portal for training and information for all FM Soldiers and Civilians); FM Tube (YouTube video job aids to support training readiness for specific FM tasks); the Ultimate Training Environment (the FM training environment designed to support small and large scale exercises to integrate all Sustainment warfighter functions). We are excited about this capability and encourages leaders at all levels to employ them consistently to improve training readiness. These capabilities can be found at: http://www.finance.army.mil/ (FM One-Stop) or https://www.milsuite.mil/book/community/spaces/afms (FM knowledge management and primary collaboration portal – “join and follow”)
The Finance Corps has a bright future. This year we had many new developments. Four of the most noticeable: First, the University of South Carolina (USC) partnership signing. This partnership signing solidified the relationship between USC and the Army Financial Management School (AFMS) for five years. Our relationship with USSC will support our Corps requirements to quickly develop new skill related to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) tools and “big data analytics”.
Second, the AFMS in conjunction with the Soldier Support Institute’s, Capability Development Integration Division and the Aviation Center of Excellence (ACoE) garnered S8 positions in all Combat Aviation Brigades (CAB) across all three components: Active, Army Reserve and Army National Guard. The ACoE clearly understands the capability the S8 team brings to the fight; they agreed to trade two aviation positions to pay the bill for the Captain and Sergeant First Class. The ACoE will issue a Force Design Update (FDU) with an effective date of Fiscal Year (FY) 2019, making this organizational change permanent. While the effective date is FY19 we already see our HRC team in conjunction with Division G8s assigning Soldiers to the CAB units. This is a tremendous win-win for the Army and another exceptional opportunity for Financial Managers; this FDU represents approximately 22 (11 offices and 11 enlisted) additional active component FM positions and 24 reserve component positions.
Third, the new S8 training taught in the Financial Management Captains Career Course, the Basic Leadership Course, and the Advanced Leadership Course proves to be exceptional training for preparing S8s for success. We are excited about making this training even better as we improve the integration of Operational Contract Support (OCS) tasks, big data analytic tasks require to create and maintain a Financial Management Common Operating (FM COP) picture, and tip, techniques and procedures to manage flight hour’s program in CAB units.
Finally the centerpiece of our hands-on institutional and readiness exercise training is the Ultimate Training Environment (UTES). UTES allows Commander, G8s/S8s, Soldiers and Civilians to train as they fight in a virtual training environment, which replicates the systems they use daily (i.e General Fund Enterprise Business System, Global Combat Support System - Army, Wide Area Work Flow, and the Standard Procurement System, and more). Readiness is the priority; the UTES allows FM elements across the intuitional, operational and self-development domains to “train as they fight”.
There are many opportunities for Soldiers and Civilians to improve their readiness and technical skills through training; therefore I encourage you to download and use our Financial Management Course Catalogue (http://www.finance.army.mil/CourseCatalog/FMSCourseCatalog.pdf).
Remember, we work for you - the operational and institutional force – Soldiers and Civilians. As CSM Walker and I travel around the Corps, I look forward to hearing your ideals and becoming more aware of your readiness requirements. We will continue to work hard to ensure our Corps is ready To Support and Serve.
Eric F. Zellars
US Army Financial Management School
Chief of the Finance Corps
Visit us at http://www.finance.army.mil/