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From Congressional Budget Office: Options for Reducing the Deficit: 2017 to 2026

ASMC National News - Fri, 2017-02-17 11:38

CBO periodically issues a volume of options—this year’s (2016) installment presents 115—that would decrease federal spending or increase federal revenues over the next decade.

The Congress faces an array of policy choices as it confronts the challenges posed by the amount of federal debt held by the public—which has more than doubled relative to the size of the economy since 2007—and the prospect of continued growth in that debt over the coming decades if the large annual budget deficits projected under current law come to pass. To help inform lawmakers, CBO periodically issues a compendium of policy options that would help to reduce the deficit. This edition reports the estimated budgetary effects of various options and highlights some of the advantages and disadvantages of those options.

Read more about the summary  |  View the full report (PDF)  |  Budget Options

Trends in Spending by the Department of Defense for Operation and Maintenance – January 2017

ASMC National News - Fri, 2017-02-17 11:31

The Department of Defense’s (DoD’s) budget consists of appropriations for the following purposes: compensating military personnel; developing and purchasing weapons; building bases, facilities, and housing; and supporting day-to-day operations. The largest single appropriation category in DoD’s base budget is the operation and maintenance (O&M) account, which funds day-to-day operations ranging from health care to equipment maintenance.

You can find the full PDF here
 

The Auditor General of the Army

ASMC National News - Fri, 2017-02-17 10:59

Mr. Randall L. Exley, retired as the Auditor General of the Army and Ms. Anne L. Richards is welcomed new Auditor General of the Army. 

On 31 December 2016, The Auditor General of the Army, Randall L. Exley, retired after 45 1/2 years of Federal service. On 15 December 2016 he was honored with a retirement ceremony at Fort Belvoir, VA, hosted by the Honorable Patrick J. Murphy, Under Secretary of the Army.

Read the full article

On 9 January 2017, Ms. Anne L. Richards was sworn in as The Auditor General of the U.S. Army at the U.S. Army Audit Agency's Operations Center on Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Prior to assuming the duties of The Auditor General, Ms. Richards was the Assistant Inspector General for Inspections and Evaluations with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Office of the Inspector General. Read the full article
 

Significant Efforts Still Needed for Remediating Audit Readiness Deficiencies

ASMC National News - Fri, 2017-02-17 10:50

The Schedules of Budgetary Activity (Budgetary Schedules) for the Army, Navy, and Air Force for fiscal year 2015 reflected current year budget activity as an interim step toward producing an auditable Statement of Budgetary Resources that will reflect multiyear budget activity. All three of the independent public accountants (IPA) contracted to audit these fiscal year 2015 Budgetary Schedules issued disclaimers, meaning that the IPAs were unable to express an opinion because of a lack of sufficient evidence to support the amounts presented.
Read the full report.

John P. Roth, Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) and Chief Financial Officer

ASMC National News - Fri, 2017-02-03 09:44

Mr. Roth is performing the duties of the Undersecretary of Defense (Comptroller) and Chief Financial Officer. He serves as the principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense on all budgetary and financial management matters.

To read John P. Roth’s full bio, visit: http://comptroller.defense.gov/About-OUSD-C/OUSD-C-Top-Leaders/

The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2017 to 2027

ASMC National News - Thu, 2017-02-02 08:44

The Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) has projected the budget deficit for 2017 to be similar to 2016. CBO’s baseline estimate of the 2017 deficit is $559 billion, or 2.9 percent of gross domestic product—less than the $587 billion deficit posted in 2016. Both totals, however, are affected by shifts in the timing of some payments. Outlays in 2016—and thus the deficit—were boosted by $41 billion because certain payments that were to be made on October 1, 2016 (the first day of fiscal year 2017), were instead made in fiscal year 2016 because October 1 fell on a weekend.

For the full report and to download the PDF, visit https://www.cbo.gov/publication/52370

Happenings from ASMC HQ: January 2017

ASMC National News - Tue, 2017-01-31 09:20

IMPORTANT! UPDATE YOUR DOD EMAIL ADDRESS TO YOUR PERSONAL EMAIL ADDRESS IN YOUR ASMC MEMBER PROFILE.

Given certain situations regarding cyber security protocols, emails from ASMC HQ or your local chapter may not always make it through servers and reach your work inbox. We want you to receive important notifications, including time sensitive material, regarding your membership status, regional/local and national PDI registration information, CDFM news and updates, accruing CPEs and other educational opportunities, notification of a new Armed Forces Comptroller magazine, and more.

Also, DoD does not allow HTML hyperlinks to get through, which means copying and pasting web address URLs, rather than being able to quickly click on a hyperlink. To better ensure you receive important communications from ASMC, if you’ve not already done so, please take a moment to access your ASMC member profile and update your email address to reflect your personal (gmail, yahoo, aol, etc) email address. This will help avoid lapses in ASMC communications that might affect your professional development schedule and decisions.
Update your email address by logging onto your ASMC Member Profile www.asmconline.org/login.

We also ask chapter presidents and membership chairs to emphasize this during chapter meetings or professional development sessions.

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LIFETIME (Non-Dues Paying) MEMBER

The ASMC National Executive Committee (ASMC Board) recently approved a recommendation to revise Lifetime (Non-Dues Paying) Membership criteria. Previously, based upon policy set long ago, the criteria for Lifetime (Non-dues Paying) Members required members to have joined ASMC before 1 October 1978 and attain 20 consecutive years of membership by 1 October 1998. Thus the number and names of Lifetime (Non-dues Paying) members was fixed and limited to only those achieving 20 years of consecutive membership by 1 October 1998. Individuals achieving 20 years consecutive years of membership after 1 Oct 1998 were designated as Life members, but were required to continue to pay dues. Last month, the ASMC Board approved a revision of the policy establishing criteria and qualifications for Lifetime (Non-dues Paying) Membership, such that any member achieving 30 (thirty) consecutive years of membership in ASMC qualifies for Lifetime (Non-dues Paying) Membership designation, without any other stipulations. Members achieving 20 years consecutive membership will continue to be recognized for their loyal and dedicated support of ASMC and as they reach 30 years of membership, they will be designated as Lifetime (Non-dues Paying) members. For more information, please visit www.asmconline.org/membership.

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ASMC NATIONAL AWARDS PROGRAM

ASMC annually recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of its chapters, members, and the defense financial management community through its awards program. This program encompasses individual and team achievement awards, scholarships, educational grants, an essay contest, chapter recognition, and a variety of other individual based awards. To read the Awards Program rules and submit a nomination, visit: www.asmconline.org/awards. Awards information appears in order of their submission due dates.

NOTE: The deadline for submission of ASMC Achievement Award nominations is January 31, 2017, which is fast approaching. There is no requirement for individual or team Achievement Award nominations to go through chapter presidents for endorsement.

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EARLY CAREERISTS

Are you a young professional under 35 or do you consider yourself early in your career? Consider joining or creating an Early Careerist group in your chapter. The Early Careerists group offers opportunities to network with other early careerists and Senior DoD Leaders; to participate in various chapter events; i.e., community service, mentoring, happy hour, and educational conferences; and to learn about upcoming CPE opportunities.

Join the Early Careerists on their Facebook page to learn about joining or creating the Early Careerists group in your local chapter. www.facebook.com/ASMCsEarlyCareerists

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2016 SURVEY OF DEFENSE FINANCIAL MANAGERS OUTLINES HOW PAST LESSONS CAN POSITION THE NEW ADMINISTRATION FOR SUCCESS

ASMC and Grant Thornton Public Sector recently released the report of the ASMC Survey of Defense Financial Managers, entitled “Preparing for the Future: Lessons Learned from 10 Years of ASMC Surveys.” The annual survey outlines the top concerns of the defense financial management community, as well as recommendations for incoming financial management leadership under the new administration. To read the press release and access the survey results, please visit www.asmconline.org/2016/12/2016-survey-of-defense-financial-managers-outlines-how-past-lessons-can-position-new-administration-for-future-success.

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CERTIFICATIONS

Did you know? — CDFM Exam Facts

  • CDFM exam modules can be taken in any order
  • A “passed” CDFM exam is good for four years from the date it was taken
  • For each exam, there is a two-week waiting period for first retakes and a four-week waiting period for any additional retakes of that exam

To discover more, please visit www.asmconline.org/certification/cdfm-information

Need to enroll or extend your enrollment in the CDFM Program?
Initial enrollment (2 years):
     Non-members: $75  |  Members: $40
Enrollment Extension (2 years):
     Non-members: $85  |  Members: $75

To enroll for the first time or extend your enrollment, please visit www.asmconline.org/certification/cdfm-forms/program-enrollment
When does my CDFM Program enrollment end?

Your enrollment expiration date is available to you 24/7! Simply login to your account and click on Update Profile to view your “Enrollment Expires” date. To login to your account, please visit www.asmconline.org/login.

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ASMC National PDI 2017 is May 31 – June 2, 2017 in San Diego! We expect to have registration available NLT end of February for general registration and a couple of weeks later to register for specific workshops. The PDI 2017 theme is “Catching the Wave … Audit Ready.” Michael Durant, the pilot of Blackhawk Super 64 that was downed during the Battle of Mogadishu in Somalia, will be one of our General Session speakers. He will speak about mission, leadership, and unity in dealing with challenging situations. www.asmconline.org/pdi

Virtual PDI (V-PDI) can help you acquire CPEs toward your CDFM and CDFM-A recertification. www.asmconline.org/pdi-2016

V-PDI 2016 Chapter Access allows chapters to present online recordings of PDI courses to their members for CPE credit. www.asmconline.org/virtual-pdi-chapter-access

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Any questions? Contact Brian Gresham, our Associate Director for Communications and Public Affairs at gresham@asmconline.org.

Presidential Executive Order on Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs

ASMC National News - Mon, 2017-01-30 12:37

January 30, 2017

On 30 January 2017, President Trump issued an executive order regarding the policy of the executive branch to be prudent and financially responsible in the expenditure of funds, from both public and private sources. The Executive Order also addressed the regulatory cap for FY2017 and the annual regulatory cost submission to OMB.

To read the complete executive order, visit https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/01/30/presidential-executive-order-reducing-regulation-and-controlling

Presidential Memorandum Regarding the Hiring Freeze

ASMC National News - Sun, 2017-01-22 12:35

January 22, 2017

On 22 January 2017, President Trump issued a memorandum establishing a federal hiring freeze. As part of the freeze, no vacant positions existing will be filled, and no new positions may be created, except in limited circumstances. This order does not include or apply to military personnel.

To read the full Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments, visit https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/01/23/presidential-memorandum-regarding-hiring-freeze

Appropriations Watch: FY 2017

ASMC National News - Fri, 2017-01-06 15:09

The government is being funded by a continuing resolution, which was passed in December 2016, and goes through April 28, 2017. The Senate voted to proceed to debate on a fiscal year (FY) 2017 budget resolution on 4 January 2017. To read the full article and the latest updates please visit the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget’s blog posting here.

Read the Senate’s budget resolution for FY 2017.

GSA lowers federal mileage reimbursable rates for 2017

ASMC National News - Sat, 2016-12-31 12:50

The General Services Administration (GSA) announced that mileage reimbursement rate for federal employees using privately –owned vehicles during official travel will decrease slightly to 53.5 cents from the current level of 54 cents.  The new rate will go into effect on January 1, 2017. 

Mileage reimbursable rates also decreased for official airplane travel (to $1.15 from $1.17) and motorcycles (to 50.5 cents from 51 cents).

Rates declined due to lower fuel prices that were offset somewhat by increasing insurance and maintenance costs.

GSA annually reviews mileage reimbursement rates for federal employees.  GSA rates cannot exceed the rate set by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for calculating business mileage expenses on tax returns.  

2016 Survey of Defense Financial Managers Outlines How Past Lessons Can Position New Administration for Future Success

ASMC National News - Wed, 2016-12-21 08:59

Annual ASMC-Grant Thornton survey offers recommendations for incoming leaders

ALEXANDRIA, Va., December 15, 2016
The American Society of Military Comptrollers (ASMC) and Grant Thornton Public Sector today released their latest survey of defense financial managers, Preparing for the Future: Lessons Learned From 10 Years of ASMC Surveys. The annual survey outlines the top concerns for the military financial management community, as well as recommendations for incoming financial management leadership under the new administration.

Al Runnels, executive director of ASMC, said, “This year’s report contains a retrospective look at trends and key challenges from the past 10 years of survey results and provides recommendations to the new administration in driving continuing improvement in the effectiveness of defense financial management operations.”

“The report provides valuable learnings and recommendations for the new defense financial leadership in 2017, offering a unique opportunity for those leaders to learn from the experiences of their predecessors,” said Ariane Whittemore, director of Security and Defense for Grant Thornton Public Sector. “Although the current environment includes many challenges, there is optimism in the defense financial management community that the new administration will bring opportunities for innovation and improvement.”

The 2016 survey represents responses from more than 500 defense financial managers at all levels. They identified human capital, fiscal uncertainty, auditability and IT modernization as their top concerns. Human capital is consistently the top concern within the defense financial management profession; personnel-related issues were the only concern emerging in every survey since 2007.

The 2016 survey makes the following recommendations for the new administration:

  • Rely on the financial management workforce – seek the advice and counsel of the experienced financial management workforce and include them in the decision-making process.
  • Focus on recruitment, retention and workforce empowerment – recognize that the financial management workforce values benefits, employment stability and job satisfaction.
  • Finish IT modernization – a thorough review of the Defense Department’s IT modernization program is needed, focusing on new programs and zeroing in on legacy systems and targeting them for elimination.
  • Simplify the budget process – investigate ways to lessen the adverse impact of multiple budget builds and duplicative budget processes, which have a negative effect on workforce stability and morale.
  • Show early support for auditability – component audit results should become part of every leader’s performance evaluation, military and civilian alike, and adequate resources (people and budget) should be devoted to the task.

About the American Society of Military Comptrollers (ASMC):
ASMC is the non-profit educational and professional organization for persons, military and civilian, involved in the overall field of military comptrollership. ASMC promotes the education and training of its members, and supports the development and advancement of the profession of military comptrollership. Visit ASMC at www.asmconline.org.

About Grant Thornton Public Sector:
Grant Thornton Public Sector helps executives and managers at all levels of government maximize their performance and efficiency in the face of ever-tightening budgets and increased demand for services. Grant Thornton Public Sector gives clients creative, cost-effective solutions that enhance their acquisition, financial, human capital, information technology, and performance management. For more information, visit www.grantthornton.com/publicsector.

About Grant Thornton LLP
Founded in Chicago in 1924, Grant Thornton LLP (Grant Thornton) is the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd, one of the world’s leading organizations of independent audit, tax and advisory firms. Grant Thornton has revenues in excess of $1.6 billion and operates 60 offices with more than 570 partners and more than 8,500 personnel in the United States and at our Shared Services Center in Bangalore, India. Grant Thornton works with a broad range of dynamic publicly and privately held companies, government agencies, financial institutions, and civic and religious organizations.

“Grant Thornton” refers to Grant Thornton LLP, the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd (GTIL). GTIL and the member firms are not a worldwide partnership. Services are delivered by the member firms. GTIL and its member firms are not agents of, and do not obligate, one another and are not liable for one another’s acts or omissions. Please see grantthornton.com for further details.

2016 Survey of Defense Financial Managers Outlines How Past Lessons Can Position New Administration for Future Succes

ASMC National News - Wed, 2016-12-14 14:20

For more information, please contact:
Carling Spelhaug
T 312.754.7394
E carling.spelhaug@us.gt.com

2016 Survey of Defense Financial Managers Outlines How Past Lessons Can Position New Administration for Future Success

Annual ASMC-Grant Thornton survey offers recommendations for incoming leaders

ALEXANDRIA, Va., December 15, 2016—The American Society of Military Comptrollers (ASMC) and Grant Thornton Public Sector today released their latest survey of defense financial managers, Preparing for the Future: Lessons Learned From 10 Years of ASMC Surveys. The annual survey outlines the top concerns for the military financial management community, as well as recommendations for incoming financial management leadership under the new administration.

Al Runnels, executive director of ASMC, said, “This year’s report contains a retrospective look at trends and key challenges from the past 10 years of survey results and provides recommendations to the new administration for driving continuous improvement in the effectiveness of defense financial management operations.”

“The report provides valuable learnings and recommendations for the new defense financial leadership in 2017, offering a unique opportunity for those leaders to learn from the experiences of their predecessors,” said Ariane Whittemore, director of Security and Defense for Grant Thornton Public Sector. “Although the current environment includes many challenges, there is optimism in the defense financial management community that the new administration will bring opportunities for innovation and improvement.”

The 2016 survey represents responses from more than 500 defense financial managers at all levels. They identified human capital, fiscal uncertainty, auditability and IT modernization as their top concerns. Human capital is consistently the top concern within the defense financial management profession; personnel-related issues were the only concern emerging in every survey since 2007.

The 2016 survey makes the following recommendations for the new administration:

  • Rely on the financial management workforce – seek the advice and counsel of the experienced financial management workforce and include them in the decision-making process.
  • Focus on recruitment, retention and workforce empowerment – recognize that the financial management workforce values benefits, employment stability and job satisfaction.
  • Finish IT modernization – a thorough review of the Defense Department’s IT modernization program is needed, focusing on new programs and zeroing in on legacy systems and targeting them for elimination.
  • Simplify the budget process – investigate ways to lessen the adverse impact of multiple budget builds and duplicative budget processes, which have a negative effect on workforce stability and morale.
  • Show early support for auditability – component audit results should become part of every leader’s performance evaluation, military and civilian alike, and adequate resources (people and budget) should be devoted to the task.


About the American Society of Military Comptrollers (ASMC):
ASMC is the non-profit educational and professional organization for persons, military and civilian, involved in the overall field of military comptrollership. ASMC promotes the education and training of its members, and supports the development and advancement of the profession of military comptrollership. Visit ASMC at www.asmconline.org.

About Grant Thornton Public Sector:
Grant Thornton Public Sector helps executives and managers at all levels of government maximize their performance and efficiency in the face of ever-tightening budgets and increased demand for services. Grant Thornton Public Sector gives clients creative, cost-effective solutions that enhance their acquisition, financial, human capital, information technology, and performance management. For more information, visit www.grantthornton.com/publicsector.

About Grant Thornton LLP:
Founded in Chicago in 1924, Grant Thornton LLP (Grant Thornton) is the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd, one of the world’s leading organizations of independent audit, tax and advisory firms. Grant Thornton has revenues in excess of $1.6 billion and operates 60 offices with more than 570 partners and more than 8,500 personnel in the United States and at our Shared Services Center in Bangalore, India. Grant Thornton works with a broad range of dynamic publicly and privately held companies, government agencies, financial institutions, and civic and religious organizations. 

“Grant Thornton” refers to Grant Thornton LLP, the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd (GTIL). GTIL and the member firms are not a worldwide partnership. Services are delivered by the member firms. GTIL and its member firms are not agents of, and do not obligate, one another and are not liable for one another’s acts or omissions. Please see grantthornton.com for further details.

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ASMC is saddened over the loss of one of our own, Dr. John Wayne Matherne

ASMC National News - Wed, 2016-12-14 12:25

We regretfully announce the passing of Dr. John Wayne Matherne. Dr. Matherne was an active ASMC member who strongly believed in the importance of ASMC, and contributed hours of his personal time to the community as a subject matter expert and as an advisory member of the ASMC Certification Commission.

Dr. John Wayne Matherne passed peacefully on December 4, 2016 at the age of 71 surrounded by his loving family, who miss him dearly. John was born on December 8, 1944 in Vivian, Louisiana to Vera and Nolan Matherne. John was a graduate of Franklinton (LA) High School, serving as valedictorian of his 1962 class. John received both his BS (Physics 1966) and Ph.D. (Mathematics 1972) from Louisiana State University. He began his career as an Army Lieutenant and then transitioned into a career Civil Servant supporting both the Air Force and Army. In addition to his Federal Government work John was passionate about education and served as an adjunct professor for the College of William & Mary, and was selected as the 1990-1991 visiting professor of mathematics for the United States Military Academy in West Point, NY. In 2005, John retired from the Federal Government as Dean of the Defense Acquisition University, Fort Lee campus. During retirement, John kept himself busy as an independent consultant working with the American Society of Military Comptrollers, SAIC, and the US Army Biometrics Program office. 

Dr. John Wayne Matherne will be greatly missed. 

To read his full obituary, please visit here

President authorizes a 2.1 percent pay raise for federal civilian employees

ASMC National News - Tue, 2016-12-13 17:09

Federal civilian employees will get a pay raise equal to that approved for military personnel.

After the House and Senate agreed on a 2.1 percent military pay raise in the FY2017 Defense Authorization bill, the president was urged by some in Congress and federal labor groups to provide the same raise for federal civilian employees.

President Obama responded by notifying Congress that he intended to reverse the alternative pay plan he announced in August that the combined civilian across-the-board pay raise and locality pay should not exceed 1.6 percent. 

Because the Congress decided to give military personnel a 2.1 percent pay raise, the president told Congress he was changing his original plan.  Under his revised alternative pay plan for federal civilian employees, the combined raise includes a 1.0 across-the-board pay raise and varying locality pay increases that will equal 2.1 percent of basic payroll.

Each year the president is required under Title 5 U.S.C., sections 5303(b) and 5304a, to present an alternative pay plan for across-the-board pay and locality pay adjustments. Because Congress did not act to counteract the president’s alternative proposal, the 2.1 percent pay raise will go into effect automatically in January

Congress extends the FY2017 CR until April 28, 2017

ASMC National News - Sat, 2016-12-10 11:10

Final action on the 11 remaining FY2017 appropriations bills must wait until the new Congress and the new administration take office in January.

With the Dec 9 expiration date for the current continuing resolution (CR) looming, the House voted (326-96) and the Senate went along (63-36) to approve an extension of the CR (H.R. 2028) until April 28, 2016.

There was a bit of late-night drama in the Senate as Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WVA) and other Senators from coal-producing states threatened to block passage of the bill unless health care benefits for miners were funded for the entire year.  Realizing they did not have the votes to block the bill and not wanting to shut down the government, Sen. Manchin and his supporters relented, vowing to continue the fight in the new Congress.

Commenting on the bill, House Appropriations Committee (HAC) chairman Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY) called the CR a “band aid that will give the next Congress the time to complete the annual Appropriations process, and in the meantime take care of immediate national funding needs.”

Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee (SAC) agreed.  “This continuing resolution is not a substitute for full-year appropriations, but it is necessary to sustain the operations of the federal government until we can complete consideration of the remaining FY2017 appropriations bills,”

Rogers cautioned against the idea of using a CR to fund the government for the full year.  “This type of short-term spending should not be the answer to funding the federal government for the year,” he said.  He urged the next Congress to compete work on all remaining FY2017 appropriations bills “to ensure the proper and responsible use of tax dollars, to provide necessary resources for important programs and services, and to hold federal agencies accountable to the American people.”

The CR essentially allows agencies to fund FY2017 programs at the FY2016 level ($1.07 trillion for the total government) for almost five months.  During the CR period an additional $5.8 billion is provided to the Department of Defense (DoD) and $4.3 billion to the State Department of the Agency for International Development (AID) “to support  military and diplomatic efforts to fight ISIS and terror around the globe.”

The bill also includes $4.1 billion for disaster relief needed to respond to Hurricane Matthew, floods, droughts, and other weather-related events.  Of this amount, the Army Corps of Engineers will use $1.025 billion for flood and coastal protection projects and the Federal Highway Emergency Relief program will apply $1 billion for repair of damaged highways.  Community Development Block Grants in the amount of $1.8 billion will be used for recovery and rebuilding efforts for individual home damage caused by severe storms and hurricanes.

An additional $872 million is provided in the bill for “critical medical research, drug approval, and drug abuse efforts. Of this amount, $500 million is provided to states response to the opioid abuse crisis.  The bill also provides $170 million to communities (e.g., Flint, Michigan) affected by drinking water contamination.

In DoD-related activities, the CR includes provisions that allow funding to be used for the Ohio Class Submarine Replacement program, Apache Attack Helicopter and Black Hawk Helicopter multiyear procurements, and the KC-46A Tanker program.

The CR includes provisions preventing a pay increase for Members of Congress, providing $45 million (fully offset) for retired miners covered under the United Mine Workers Association 1993 Benefits Plan, and allowing funding for NASA’s Deep Space Exploration Program.

The bill also provides for an expedited process in the Senate next year for language that would allow retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis to be considered for the post of Secretary of Defense.  Mattis, who has been named the as prospective nominee for Secretary of Defense, retired from active service three years ago.  Because current law prohibits such service until a retired officer has been out of the service for seven year, the senate would have to pass a waiver for his nomination to be considered,

President Obama is expected to sing the bill.

ASMC National Awards Program

ASMC National News - Fri, 2016-12-09 14:16

The American Society of Military Comptrollers (ASMC) annually recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of its chapters, membership, and the defense financial management community through its awards program. This program encompasses individual and team achievement awards, scholarships, educational grants, an essay contest, chapter recognition, and a variety of other individual based awards. Awards appear in order of the submission due date. To read the rules for each submission and submit a nomination, visit: https://asmc.nonprofitcms.org/a/Organizations/main/Home

ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS
Achievement awards are presented annually to individuals and teams who have been nominated for outstanding accomplishment within one of the functional fields of comptrollership. Submissions (including all applicable forms and documentation) for awards in this category are due by no later than January 31, 2017.

  • Accounting Achievement Award
  • Acquisition/Cost Analysis Achievement Award
  • Auditing Achievement Award
  • Budgeting Achievement Award
  • Comptroller/Deputy Comptroller Achievement Award
  • Contractor Support Achievement Award
  • Intern/Trainee Achievement Award
  • Finance Achievement Award
  • Resource Management Achievement Award
  • Small Team Achievement Award
  • Large Team Achievement Award

For information on receiving sample screen shots of individual and team achievement award forms, please visit, https://asmc.nonprofitcms.org/a/Organizations/main/Home

MEMBERSHIP AWARDS (1) – Essay Contest
This award is presented to ASMC members for achievements in authorship. Essays (and all applicable forms and documentation) are due by no later than February 28, 2017. For rules and to submit, please visit  https://asmc.nonprofitcms.org/a/Organizations/main/Home

SCHOLARSHIP AWARDS
Each year, ASMC awards more than $35,000 in scholarships and grants to high school seniors, college students, and ASMC members to provide financial assistance that they may accomplish their financial management related educational goals. Submission (including all applicable forms and documentation) for awards in this category are due by no later than March 31, 2017.

  • High School Scholarships
  • Previous Winner Scholarships
  • Members Continuing Education Grants

For rules and to submit, please visit https://asmc.nonprofitcms.org/a/Organizations/main/Home

CHAPTER AWARDS
There are a number of awards that recognize the many accomplishments of ASMC chapters. Submissions (including all applicable forms and documentation) for awards in this category are due by no later than April 10, 2017.

  • The Community Service Award
  • The Chapter Communications Program
  • The Five Star Chapter Program
  • Membership Growth Awards
  • The Neil R. Ginnetti Professional Development Award

The annual Chapter Program reporting form encompasses all of the chapter award competition areas, including overall recognition. For rules and to submit, please visit https://asmc.nonprofitcms.org/a/Organizations/main/Home
* Please keep in mind that there are items due throughout the year in the administrative area.

MEMBERSHIP AWARDS (2)
Several awards are presented to ASMC members for achievements in areas such as leadership, recruitment, corporate engagement, and authorship. Submission (including all applicable forms and documentation) for awards in this category are due by no later than April 10, 2017.

  • Chapter Leadership
  • Corporate Member
  • Editorial (chosen by Editorial Board from published submissions)
  • Membership Recruitment (chosen based upon data from new membership applications)

For rules and to submit, please visit https://asmc.nonprofitcms.org/a/Organizations/main/Home

Questions may be directed to awards@asmconline.org or the direct contact listed in each program rules link found on https://asmc.nonprofitcms.org/a/Organizations/main/Home.

Congress approves compromise FY2017 Defense Authorization bill

ASMC National News - Fri, 2016-12-09 11:34

The Senate passed the final FY2017 Defense Authorization bill yesterday with broad bipartisan support, 92-7.  The bill, which had been worked out by House and Senate committee negotiators, overwhelmingly passed the House (375-34) last week.

The bill authorizes force levels, programs, and policies (including military pay raises) for Department of Defense (DoD) budgets and the programs and policies for the Department of Energy (DoE) nuclear weapons program.  Appropriations bills provide actual funding.

House Armed Services Committee Chair Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) said the bill “focuses on our troops, America’s most important national defense resource.  It provides them a full pay raise for the first time in four years, it stops layoffs of our military personnel and actually increases the end strength of our Armed Forces.”

The compromise bill authorizes a total of $619 billion, including $532 billion for the FY2017 DoD base budget and $19 billion for in discretionary budget authority for the Department of Energy (DoE) nuclear weapons program.  The bill authorizes an additional $8 billion in mandatory spending and about $60 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO).

The legislation authorizes funding to support a 2.1 percent military pay raise, higher than the 1.6 percent raise proposed by the president.  The bill does not make any changes to out-of-pocket expenses by servicemembers or military retirees and makes no changes to the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH).

The bill provides two TRICARE options—managed care option and no-referral network option—for servicemembers (and families) and retires, and extends the hours for care at Military Treatment Facilities (MTF) primary care clinics.

The bill does not require women to register for the draft, but directs the preparation of a study of the utility of the Selective Service.

The bill rejects the administration’s plan to draw down troop levels and adds 16,000 Army end strength and 3,000 Marine Corps end strength in 2017.

The conference committee also rejects an administration proposal for another Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) round.

The bill includes major reforms of the Department of Defense (DoD) organization.  The role of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) as the principal, independent military advisor to the president is preserved and the roles of the Combatant Commanders are clarified.  The size of the National Security Council (NSC) staff is capped at 200 under the bill.

In addition, the bill replaces the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (AT&L) with an Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (R&E) and an Under Secretary of Defense of Management and Support and creates a new Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition Policy and Oversight to set defense-wide acquisition and industrial base policy.

The bill now goes to the president for signature.  The president had earlier threatened to veto the bill, but the White House has given no indication of the president’s intent now that the bill has passed.

OMB issues revised guidance on conference participation

ASMC National News - Tue, 2016-12-06 15:26

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has revised its guidance on policies and practices regarding U.S government employees and agencies participating in conferences.

In a memo to federal department and agency heads, OMB Director Shaun Donovan amended the guidance OMB issued in 2012 (OMB Memorandum M-12-12) that reduced travel spending and instituted tough management controls for conference participation.

The 2012 guidance was issued to comply with the president’s direction to cut administrative expenses.  It was also in response to an Inspector General report that in 2010 the General Services Administration (GSA) spent close to one million dollars on a training conference in Las Vegas.

Donovan said that since 2012, agencies “have achieved significant savings in conference spending and strengthened internal controls to monitor travel and conference-related activities.”  Donovan emphasized the revised guidance acknowledges the lessons learned and the actions agencies have taken, but also recognizes the challenges faced over the past few years, especially “reduced opportunities to perform agency functions, present scientific findings and innovations, train, recruit, and retain employees, or share best practices.”

The revised guidance “amends policies and practices for Federal conference sponsorship, hosting, and attendance.”  The guidance stresses the importance of conferences and eases some approval requirements.  But, it still requires detailed annual reporting on conference participation.

In the memo, Donovan stresses that OMB understands the important role conferences play in the operations of the federal government.  He said conferences enable “the sharing of knowledge among large groups, bringing together dispersed communities, or providing opportunities for interaction, collaboration and presenting cutting edge work.”

Under the revised guidance, agencies are directed to continue to ensure:1) “that Federal funds are used only for necessary and appropriate proposes” and 2) that all conference attendance and expenses are appropriate to the agency mission and comply with the Federal Travel Regulation (FTR) and Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR).

OMB directs agencies to designate an official “to approve estimated spending excess of $500,000 on a single conference and submit justification that attendance is the most cost-effective way to achieve a “compelling purpose.”

Agencies should make sure that decisions on conference participation and attendance are made in a timely manner “to ensure that conference attendees are able to commit to participation in a timely manner and take advantage of cost-savings measures such as early registration and advance travel bookings,” according to the memo.  To prevent lengthy review processes, OMB states that agencies “should pre-approve, as appropriate, employee attendance at known recurring conferences.

OMB also requires agencies to report conference expenses on their official websites.  OMB directs agencies to report by December 31 of each year a “description of all agency-sponsored conferences from the previous fiscal year where net expenses exceed $100,000.  If net costs for an agency-sponsored conference exceed $500,000 the website should identify the approving official and the rational for approval.

Carter urges Congress to avoid long-term CR for FY2017

ASMC National News - Fri, 2016-12-02 12:11

With Congress appearing ready to consider a long-term continuing resolution (CR) well into next year (possibly until May 2017), Secretary of Defense Ash Carter warned of the detrimental effects on U.S. national security of such action.

In a letter to congressional leaders, Carter called the prospect of operating under a CR for nearly two-thirds of the fiscal year “unprecedented and unacceptable.”  He stressed that DoD has never operated under a long-term CR during a transition to a new administration.

The longer the length of the CR the more damage will be done to DoD’s capabilities because DoD will be “locked into last year’s budget and last year’s priorities,” Carter said.  He cited the most harm will be resulting shortfalls in operations and munitions accounts, especially those accounts funding counterterrorism operations. 

Carter emphasized that operating under a CR means that DOD will not have the authority to begin new programs, increase program production rates, or start multi-year procurement projects.  He said in FY2017 DOD will need 57 new starts and 87 increases in program production rates.  Delaying these actions during a CR would undercut important programs (e.g., KC-46 Tanker, helicopter buys, and replacement of the Ohio submarine).

Carter said if Congress can’t complete action on the FY2017 DoD appropriations bill by the time the current CR runs out on December 9, it should at least keep the CR as short as possible to allow time to finish the bill.

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