Fort McCoy News September 25, 2015

Fort McCoy RMO critical to year-round excellence

STORY & PHOTO BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

The end of the fiscal year can be a stressful, busy time for resource-management professionals.

At Fort McCoy's Resource Management Office (RMO), the end of a fiscal year can be much less stressful for the RMO's budget and contract management support personnel due in large part to proven strategic- and acquisition-management planning processes.

Part of the RMO's mission is to advise and assist the Fort McCoy garrison commander and garrison staff on all matters regarding resource planning, programming, and execution.

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Budget Technician Linda Martin and Budget Officer Bonnie Hilt, both with the garrison Resource Management Office, review work documents at their office at Fort McCoy.

"End-of-year planning really begins on Oct. 1," said Fort McCoy Resource Management Officer Maureen Richardson. "We put our acquisition plans in place in April for the next fiscal year, and then we develop our payroll and other requirements before the end of September. By the time Oct. 1 rolls in, we are already well underway to accomplishing our midpoint and end-of-June milestones.

"Getting there requires structure, rigor, and discipline and above all in resource management — it's what we like to call a team sport," Richardson said. "It takes dedication from the staff, the budget office, the CMSO (contract management support office), and the MICC (Mission Installation Contracting Command) to get us to that Sept. 30 closeout."

"(And) because of our very robust acquisition-management planning process, we are able to move execution to an earlier date and time," Richardson said. "We developed an acquisition-management and financial-management process that forces our customers to plan and move their timelines up so that we have most of our obligations in before midyear, which is the end of March. That relieves the pressure for September."

RMO responsibilities include financial programming and budgeting, manpower management, management accounting, internal controls, support agreements, audit management, and contract-management support for the Fort McCoy Garrison.

The key reference document the garrison staff (including RMO) uses to plan, integrate, and execute its acquisition- and financial-management processes is the Fort McCoy Staff Reference Guide for Acquisition Management Planning and Financial Management Planning. This handbook provides the staff with detailed instructions and specific templates that standardize exactly how these processes are to be performed.

This local Fort McCoy initiative has been recognized by the Army Reserve, Installation Management Command, and MICC as a "best practice" and a model for how other Army organizations should fulfill their financial management responsibilities. This handbook is consistent with the requirements detailed in the Fort McCoy Strategic Planning and Installation Management System Handbook terms of how to plan for the resources necessary to fulfill our long-term mission needs.

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"I am very proud of (the guide)," Richardson said. "All of our team (across Fort McCoy) has stepped up to ensure it's successful."

The staff reference guide also requires a new fiscal-year acquisition plan be in place six months prior to the end of the current fiscal year, Richardson said.

"The acquisition plan for the next fiscal year is completed in April," Richardson said. "It includes supply, service, and SRM (Sustainment, Restoration and Modernization) construction procurements. These acquisitions comprise one of two major cost drivers in the garrison's budget." The timeline for each procurement action also alerts MICC to the workload for the next year and informs the analysts about what must be included in the preparation of the annual budget submission.

"And it's all done in plenty of time to ensure we know the fiscal-year requirements well in advance of receipt of funding. We want to ensure we provide MICC plenty of time to award our acquisition requirements and take the pressure off the fourth quarter. We want to show high obligation rates in the first half of the year," Richardson said.

To provide adequate coverage to their customers, the RMO has a team of budget analysts and technicians assigned to support each Fort McCoy directorate and special staff office. The budget teams and the customers they support all attend a monthly acquisition-management meeting to discuss and make decisions about future projects, contracts, and more.

Budget Analyst Madge Waege, who supports the Directorate of Public Works (DPW), said constant communication with customers is important, and the monthly meetings reinforce communication.

"(Communication is) very important because we are not situated in (the DPW) building," Waege said. The monthly meeting is a checkpoint to go through directorate plans, see what they think they are going to be able to accomplish or not be able to accomplish, and then refocus.

For Diane Wheeler, a budget analyst assigned to support the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security (DPTMS), knowing her customer's future plans is critical for continuous improvement.

"Being a budget analyst, you have to be able to understand what the (training is) all about," Wheeler said. "We have to be prepared way before it starts. … We have to keep the ranges growing all the time, and the maintenance and everything has to be done. Everything has to be top notch when the Soldiers roll in. … And in the end, it takes all of us to make this work."

Contract Management Support Officer Pete Hodges said the RMO ensures senior leadership is aware of their service contracts and construction contracts.

"We are always looking at what are the best alternatives to certain contracts (too)," Hodges said. "We might ask if it is good to consolidate services or contracts and more. We're also asking the pertinent questions, such as why do we need a contract, and is it cost effective? We have to ask ourselves, 'Are we, as stewards of the taxpayers' money, using that money in the best interest of meeting the needs of our mission?'

"The budget and CMSO offices oversee acquisition planning and execution, and provide the senior leaders … the way ahead with both their current acquisition actions and future actions," Hodges said. That includes providing pre-award guidance and support from both a contract-management perspective and compliance with all governing directives and higher-headquarters policy.

"All of that effort plays a big role in the process," Hodges said.

Whether it's budget management and contracting support or managerial accounting, civilian payroll, and manpower support, Richardson said the RMO has a great team to complete all it has to do.

"We fill a key enabler role for the garrison to achieve its strategic vision," Richardson said. "Literally everything we do enables the rest of the garrison activities to do their jobs. They couldn't be successful without our involvement."

For more information, call 608-388-3808.