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NEWS | Oct. 22, 2021

Financial management technicians certify for deployment support

By Sgt. Laurissa Hodges 3rd Sustainment Brigade

Finance management technicians assigned to Alpha Detachment, 24th Financial Management Support Unit, Division Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Division Sustainment Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, conduct Operation Support Team certification on Fort Stewart, Georgia, throughout the month of September to prepare the unit to support the U.S. Central Command.

“Today marks the final day of our U.S. Army Financial Management Command OST evaluation,” said 1st Lt. Elizabeth Christensen the Alpha Det. commander. “This is in preparation for our upcoming CENTCOM mission for the commercial vendor services retrograde also known as the CVS (commercial vendor services) retrograde.”

Similar to most military training, finance train in support of their mission. Unlike last year, this mission focuses on contracting and paying for the contracts.

“Last year pertained to a TVPSC (Theater Vendor Pay Cells) mission, disbursing mission and a military pay mission,” said Christensen. “This year, the mission is entirely focused on proofing contractual agreements and paying for the contracts that go through the entire CENTCOM Area of Responsibility."

The evaluation differs from finance’s ordinary training operations due to its focus on the specific skills and knowledge they will need to support their upcoming deployment.

“We consistently train throughout the year in order to maintain our flexibility and agility as a unit with our military occupation specificity,” said Christensen. “However, we only tend to do this level of intense training of evaluation right before we enter into a deployment or a significant mission. Essentially this type of train of evaluation is the finance version of heading out to the NTC (National Training Center) at Fort Irwin, California.”

Unique to the unit’s deployment is the deployment in place where the unit will provide support to CENTCOM units from the United States, as opposed to overseas like most deployments.

“Most have not heard of that type of mission because it is pretty much unique to finance,” said Christensen. “So, essentially when this mission kicks off and we have our transfer of authority we are going to adjust ourselves to the downrange CENTCOM time zones and we’ll be operating seven days per week depending on mission requirements in support of the CENTCOM environment and ensuring that all their contracts are proofed and paid in a timely manner.”

It’s one thing to familiarize a Soldier with knowledge that they were previously trained on, but it an entirely different challenge when training that Soldier for a mission they are not acquainted with.

“We’ve actually never dealt with this level of contracts before, so us seeing contracts come in reviewing and processing all the way through is very beneficial for us because we don’t have this day-to-day,” said 2nd Lt. Morgan Fadel, the disbursing agent for Alpha Det. “It’s not a task that we train and it’s not something our Soldiers have seen before unless they have previously done this mission.”

The 24th FMSU Soldiers traditionally provide financial support to the installation. With the unit’s upcoming in-place deployment, the Soldiers are expected to certify and understand how to conduct contracting and paying for the contracts.

“We don’t handle a lot of contracts like the MICC (Mission Installation Contracting Command) which is not 24th FMSU,” said Fadel. “The MICC deals with a lot of contracts on Fort Stewart and the local area with U.S. contractors and money whereas we’ll be dealing with everything downrange. Our mission involves liaising with multinational banking industries across the globe.”

To prepare for the training, finance Soldiers were given multiple exercises to practice following proper procedures when dealing with contracting paperwork.

“We review all the different documents that OST comes here with and enforce repetition to ensure that the information is retained,” said Sgt. 1st Class Jermaine Johnson, the senior noncommissioned officer for Alpha Det. “Repetition is key for this mission in order to get familiarized with the process and procedures. We would also read regulations to ensure that the Soldiers abide by proper protocols.”

The finance management technicians faced several unfamiliar training obstacles to ensure they learned the processes to certify and become mission ready.

“It’s is a learning curve, but we have an outstanding group of high-speed individuals that learn very fast and they take great notes” said Johnson. “At first it was a little difficult because it was like we were receiving information from a fire hose, but once the Soldiers got the hang of it and realized the process from start to finish they figured out why certain things are the way they are.”

Some may think that those working behind the computer do not play a lethal role in the mission, but when it comes to financing a battle the funds have to come from somewhere.

“We actually change lives,” said Johnson. “We shape the battle field, pay for the battle and any reconstructions downrange comes from us. So, we are just as important as a combat unit. The support units support the combat units and we make sure all the contracts are paid and the money is funded and allocated where it needs to be allocated to ensure that we achieve victory.”