Analysis flight managers budget


WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE — The business of ensuring the financial resources of the 88th Air Base Wing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base are managed properly is not just a task that is fulfilled at the beginning of a fiscal year or at year-end closeout on Sept. 30.

In fact, it’s a daily process that even under optimal conditions with appropriations in place, would be difficult, but extremely important to mission success for the 88th and its mission partner organizations on WPAFB. It is a mission at which the men and women of the 88th Financial Analysis Flight excel.

For the last several years, these optimal conditions have not been in place as the Department of Defense has operated under a Continuing Resolution Authority, known as a CRA, and with emergency funding.

“There are two types of bills that Congress should pass and the president should sign by Oct. 1 of each year,” said Tim Edem, Chief of the Financial Analysis Flight. “The authorization bill authorizes DOD to do its work and the appropriations bill provides the money to operate to that authorization.”

These bills can be different in what they call for.

“Since we haven’t had these bills signed and in place at the beginning of the fiscal year in the last several years, the 88th Air Base Wing has started under a CRA. The wing requests a certain amount of funding based on how long the organization believes the CRA will last. HQ AFMC/FMA then sends a CRA budget authority document,” Edem explained.

“Once the Appropriations bill was signed, then we had to work under emergency funds until Initial Distribution funding documents were received,” said Cathleen Worley, FMA1 budget supervisor. They weren’t going to issue us any more CRA, so our CRA funds and emergency funds cover the gap until receiving ID.”

“Once the president signs the appropriations bill, the CRA officially ends, but we’re still not going to see any funding, so that’s where the emergency comes in. AFMC sends us an email that says we can load this much additional funding, but it’s designated as emergency funding,” Edem said.

This use of different categories of funding increases the work involved in balancing the books.

“Once we receive the actual Budget Authority document, we load in ID and back out everything that we received before, washing out the CRA and emergency funding,” said Worley.

On top of that, the 88 ABW now receives funding under two separate Operating Agency Codes and Operating Budget Account Numbers. Some funding is receiving under OAC 47E1 from AFLCMC and some is received under OAC 18JK from AFIMSC; both report to HQ AFMC.

Throughout the year, the Financial Analysis Flight works to ensure the ABW is continually in balance with all funding documents. All funding is loaded by Program Element Code and Element of Expense Investment Code.

“Since we were working under CRA, we were able to fund requirements prior to receiving ID, so now once we get our funding loaded, we’re moving forward as before. Even though we were working under CRA for seven months, we were still cutting contracts, still purchasing mission requirements for the wing.

Until the appropriations bill is signed by the president, the Financial Analysis Flight doesn’t know if the amount of funding to be received will be lower or higher than what the original bill called for.

“If it’s lower, then cuts could be implemented; if it’s higher we may get additional funding so we’re sitting here waiting to see how much we’ll receive under the appropriation” Edem said. “For FY17 we are actually getting a little bit more in the long run than what was originally determined. We’re getting more on the AFIMSC side which allows for a couple of contracts within Mission Support Group to be funded for a full 12-month period this fiscal year.”

There are some milestone deadlines established throughout the fiscal year to ensure the budget is executed appropriately.

“We’re also posturing to make sure that our spending is in line to get us to where we need to be at the end of the fiscal year,” said Steven Cone, budget analyst, “And to make sure that if we receive additional funds that all the documents are in place to execute to those funds before the end of the year.”

By law, the wing must obligate 80 percent of its funding each year by July 31, although FMA holds a goal of 83 percent. Federal law states that no more than 20 percent of the budget may be spent in the last two months of a fiscal year.

“Receiving ID this late in the fiscal year makes this difficult. We’re actually getting the documents in June and by the end of July we’re supposed to be at 80 percent and we didn’t even know in some cases exactly how much funding we were actually going to receive,” explained Edem. “You cannot effectively plan when you don’t know what your budget is going to be. That’s why it’s very important for the president and congress to have a signed bill by the first of October.”

Operating under a CRA does have restrictions. For example, the wing cannot spend money that was not included in the approved FY Execution Plan.

Looking ahead to FY18, the team has already completed the Execution Plan for both OACs in late April and early May. The plan states how the air base wing intends to execute its budget and all the groups from within the wing participate in formulating the plan with their mission requirements.

This process is coordinated by a Financial Working Group which includes Resource Advisors throughout the wing, who meet every month. Edem also facilitates a Financial Management Board meeting for the Wing and Group commanders who are voting members during a prioritization process for unfunded requirements. Edem and his FMA team prepare charts to show the commander what can be covered with the expected funding and then an unfunded list of all the requirements that have not been identified to receive funding, but are mission necessities. The FMB can turn in a list of its top five UFRs (and sometimes more) for the Wing for both of the OACs.

FMA works closely with the contracting office to ensure timelines are met to execute end of fiscal year closeout actions.

“We discuss specific dates dealing with closeout – the first one is Sept. 22, which will be our ‘soft’ closeout date this year,” said Edem. “This is also the date that DFAS will focus on obligations for AFMC. Sept. 27 will be the ‘final push or hard’ closeout date, which is the date when all contracts should be awarded. Sept. 30 is the final day any transaction can be completed for the fiscal year.”

Sept. 30 falls on a Saturday this year and the FMA and contracting teams will be burning the midnight oil to close out the fiscal year.

“Contracting will be prepared so if funding is received that day, they will be able to turn around and cut a contract that day if needed,” Worley said.

The Financial Analysis Flight also does the certification of funding for the entire base, which means that all funding that is going to be spent on something at Wright-Patterson is certified by an accounting technician from FMA.

“The amount of funds that we certify is close to $25 billion each FY and this includes all other organizations on base,” Edem said.

Operating with about 55 personnel this FY, Edem’s team facilitates management of the Wing’s annual budget, which, including the base medical center, is about $405 million.

“We have operated under a Continuing Resolution for so long it is has become an almost standard procedure each FY,” Edem said. “Even if the funding bills are signed on time it takes four to six weeks to see the ID documents. Therefore, we would work under emergency funds until the ID funding documents are received,” he said.

Thinking ahead to the beginning of FY18, the FMA team believes the ABW will once again most likely be operating under a CRA, which unfortunately has become ‘business as usual.’

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Submitted photo Thanks to additional funding received from the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center in FY17, the 88th Financial Analysis Flight was able to fully fund a couple contracts within the 88th Mission Support Group for a full 12-month period. One of them involves the 88th Logistics Readiness Squadron’s Vehicle Maintenance Shop. Here, Jim O’Dell (left), a mechanic at the 88th Logistics Readiness Squadron’s Heavy Equipment Maintenance Shop, works with Jarett Judd, another mechanic, June 28 to replace a motor on a P-23 Crash Truck in Bldg. 13.
http://www.beavercreeknewscurrent.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/49/2017/08/web1_170628-F-TH808-001.jpgSubmitted photo Thanks to additional funding received from the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center in FY17, the 88th Financial Analysis Flight was able to fully fund a couple contracts within the 88th Mission Support Group for a full 12-month period. One of them involves the 88th Logistics Readiness Squadron’s Vehicle Maintenance Shop. Here, Jim O’Dell (left), a mechanic at the 88th Logistics Readiness Squadron’s Heavy Equipment Maintenance Shop, works with Jarett Judd, another mechanic, June 28 to replace a motor on a P-23 Crash Truck in Bldg. 13.

News-Current Report

Story courtesy of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.