Sgt. Laurissa Hodges
Photo by Sgt. Laurissa Hodges
Daniel Rogers, an Army Financial Management Operation Support Team financial management systems trainer, assesses financial management technicians assigned to Detachment Alpha, 24th Financial Management Support Unit, Special Troops Division Battalion , 3rd Division Sustainment Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, during pre-deployment certification Sept. 29 at Fort Stewart.
Financial management technicians certify for deployment support
Financial Management Technicians assigned to Detachment Alpha, 24th Financial Management Support Unit, Division Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Division Support Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, participated in a team certification operations support throughout September to prepare the unit to support the US Central Command.
“Today marks the last day of our OST assessment of the Army Financial Management Command,” said Alpha Det. Commanding Officer, 1st Lieutenant Elizabeth Christensen. “This is in preparation for our next CENTCOM mission to downgrade commercial vendor services. “
Like most military training, financial management technicians train in support of their mission. This mission is centered on contractualization and the payment of contracts.
“Last year [the training] involved a theater salesperson pay cell assignment, a disbursement assignment, and a military payroll assignment, ”Christensen said. “This year, the mission is fully focused on verifying contractual agreements and paying for contracts that cross the entire CENTCOM area of responsibility. “
The assessment differs from regular finance training operations because of the emphasis on the specific skills and knowledge they will need to support their future deployment.
“We train regularly throughout the year to maintain our flexibility and agility as a unit with our uniqueness of military occupation,” Christensen said. “However, we tend to only do this level of intensive assessment training just before entering a deployment or a major mission. Essentially, this type of assessment training is the financial version of going out to the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California.
Unlike most overseas deployments, the 24th FMSU will provide support to U.S. CENTCOM units
“Most haven’t heard of this type of assignment because it’s pretty much unique to finance,” Christensen said. “So basically when this mission begins and we have our transfer of authority, we will adjust to the downstream CENTCOM time zones and operate seven days a week depending on the mission requirements to support the CENTCOM environment and ensure that all their contracts are checked and paid on time.
It is one thing to familiarize a soldier with the knowledge he has already been trained on, but it is an entirely different challenge when training that soldier for a mission he is unfamiliar with.
“In fact, we’ve never dealt with this level of contracts before, so seeing the contracts being reviewed and processed throughout is very beneficial for us because we don’t have that on a day-to-day basis,” said 2nd Lt. . Morgan Fadel, the dechiller agent of Alpha Det. “It is not a task that we train and it is not something that our soldiers have seen before unless they have already done this mission.”
The 24th FMSU soldiers traditionally provide financial support to the installation. With the unit’s next on-site deployment, Soldiers are expected to certify and understand how to contract and pay for contracts.
“We don’t deal with a lot of contracts like the Mission Installation Contracts Command which is not the 24th FMSU,” Fadel said. “The MICC deals with a lot of contracts on Fort Stewart and the region with American contractors and money while we deal with everything downstream. Our mission is to liaise with multinational banking industries around the world.
To prepare for the training, Finance Soldiers were given several exercises to practice following proper procedures when it comes to contracting.
“We review all the different documents provided by the OST and apply duplication to make sure the information is kept,” said the Staff Sgt. 1st Class Jermaine Johnson, the senior noncommissioned officer for Alpha Det. “Rehearsal is essential for this assignment in order to become familiar with the process and procedures. We also read the regulations to make sure the soldiers were following the proper protocols. “
Financial management technicians faced several unknown training obstacles to ensure they learned the certification and engagement processes.
“It’s a learning curve, but we have an amazing group of high speed individuals who learn really fast and take good grades,” Johnson said. “At first it was a little difficult because it felt like we were receiving information from a fire hose, but once the soldiers understood and understood the process from start to finish, they understood. why some things are the way they are. “
Some may think that those working behind the computer are not playing a lethal role in the mission, but when it comes to funding a battle, the funds have to come from somewhere.
“We are really changing lives,” Johnson said. “We shape the battlefield, pay for the battle and all the rebuilding downstream comes from us. So we are just as important as a combat unit. Support units support combat units and we make sure all contracts are paid and money is funded and allocated where it needs to be allocated to ensure victory. “