FORT MCCOY, Wisc. –
In the era of modern warfare, no war has been fought by the U.S. Army without finance funding the fight or without total integration from its active and reserve components, and experts believe that will remain true for the wars of the future.
Preparing for those battlefields of tomorrow, whether physical or virtual, the Army’s premier finance and comptroller exercise, Diamond Saber, impressed Sgt. Maj. Darnell Cabell, senior enlisted leader and principal advisor to the military deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Financial Management and Comptroller, during his visit to the exercise at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, recently.
“It was one of the better exercises I’ve seen as a sergeant major for our profession,” said Cabell. “It all ties into building readiness for our Army, and building that readiness requires that we train the way we fight.”
Diamond Saber is a U.S. Army Reserve-led exercise that incorporates all Army components and joint services, and it prepares finance and comptroller Soldiers on warfighting functions such as funding the force, payment support, disbursing operations, accounting, fiscal stewardship, auditability and data analytics.
“I saw nothing but phenomenal work being dong there by all three components, along with the Air Force and our interagency partners with [the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, Rome] there,” said Cabell. “When we look at the future of our corps, it’s important that we embrace the total force partnership, and Diamond Saber highlights why it is important that we embrace and take advantage of that integration.”
Diamond Saber’s top exercise planner, Army Reserve Capt. Timothy Bowler, 84th Training Command, agreed, adding that building readiness through seamless integration was one of his guiding principles in planning the exercise.
“Total Force integration is incredibly important when we deploy and conduct our mission in austere environments, where we aren’t limited to an organic chain of command that we’re used to dealing with day-to-day,” explained Bowler. “Diamond Saber gives us a chance to see some of the strengths and challenges the other components and services have as they operate, and we can leverage and work through them in a training environment.”
Still, just as the whole is never greater than the sum of the parts, there is no integration success without individual efforts, which also made an impression on Cabell.
“I was extremely impressed with the level of training and dedication the Soldiers expressed, as well as how well they executed their mission,” said the sergeant major. “It doesn’t matter what component you belong to; what matters is if you know what your roles and responsibilities are and how to communicate with each other.”
Bowler agreed, stating the Soldiers did a great job of taking ownership of the exercise, whether they were an instructor, part of the advance team or an exercise participant
“That ownership created a vested interest, which was a key component to getting the mission done and getting the best training possible,” he elaborated.
Cabell also gave a lot of credit to the exercise’s success to Bowler.
“There was a ton of hard work and dedication poured into this exercise by Captain Bowler, who did a phenomenal job orchestrating the setup and execution of Diamond Saber with help from a handful of people,” he said.
For his part, Bowler gave credit to the support he got across the Army components.
“I really need to give a shout out to [the U.S. Army Financial Management Command] and DFAS for all the support and behind the scenes support they provided as they really owned all the training phases,” he explained. “And, having the staff support from elements outside the finance and comptroller branch, like the logistical support we got from the 78th Training Division and the information technology support we got from USAFMCOM, were vital to our success.”
Looking at the future, Cabell said he wants to see more planning and support from all three components and joint service partners to see the exercise grow even more.
“I left there with my thoughts revolving around the fact that this is the only training event we own as a profession, and there are a lot more opportunities we can pursue in the future,” he elaborated. “I’d like to see us bring in some contracting, legal, and other aspects into the exercise to increase the training experience with non-notional elements.
“To do that, planning needs to be collaborative effort, and I see the opportunity for us to get more participation and open up more opportunities for the Air Force and Marines to join us in this training,” he concluded.