By Sgt. Fatima Konteh
U.S. Army Central
Military and civilian finance professionals, met for the annual U.S. Army Central Financial Management and Comptroller Forum Dec. 3-5, 2018 at Al Udeid Airbase, Qatar.
The three-day forum is designed to be a venue to not only coordinate efforts among financial professionals but also to reinforce pathways for open communication and strengthen relationships between leaders in finance management positions across all levels of Defense operations.
“The mission is to make sure that when we leave here, we leave with one understanding, that we are more empowered, we are more knowledgeable,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Herlitz A. Henderson, USARCENT’s finance sergeant major. “When we leave here, we are better able and more equipped to execute the budget.”
This year’s theme, acquire, distribute, and account, focuses on USARCENT’s theater environment. Centered on learning, distributing, and accounting for funds to support resourcing operations parallel with USARCENT’s priorities.
“Funding is required to support missions, and without it, Soldiers and contractors will not get paid,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Brad K. Dreyer, U.S. Army Central Finance Management assistant chief of staff. “It has a direct impact even before entering the battlefield.”
The forum included personnel from the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, Department of the Army, and Defense Finance and Accounting Service.
“Now we have leaders from the various services talking to each other, exchanging ideas, and then it is taken back to the different service agencies,” said Dreyer.
Henderson also agreed on the importance of financial readiness between the branches.
“Everything requires money, and if someone is not sure how to execute the budget, it might impede readiness, but once it is clear in everyone’s mind, then it will make us more ready,” said Henderson.
Many speakers presented during the conference and addressed topics from current technology to the military’s initiative, 'using money as a weapons system,' a common theme used throughout the forum.
“When we come together as a team, we can clarify some of the things that can be confusing,” said Henderson.
The financial leaders were also given an opportunity the work together as they completed a team-building physical fitness competition. The events were modeled around the upcoming Army Combat Fitness test that will begin in October 2019.
The forum meets each year to stimulate interactions and the creative exchange of ideas among fellow financial management professionals, who all share the goal of ensuring command priorities are appropriately and adequately resourced, transactions are auditable, and financial managers remain on the cutting edge of both technology and innovation.
From the Department of Defense all the way down to each finance management detachment, the finance management and comptroller directorate supports and sustains USARCENT’s continuing missions and warfighters.