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NEWS | June 18, 2024

Trailblazing Williams takes USAFMCOM baton

By Mark R. W. Orders-Woempner U.S. Army Financial Management Command

A trailblazing U.S. Army colonel took the baton of the Department of Defense’s only financial management command, setting her feet on a solid path laid by her outgoing predecessor.

Col. Michelle M. Williams took command of the U.S. Army Financial Management Command from Brig. Gen. Paige M. Jennings during a ceremony presided over by Lt. Gen. Christopher O. Mohan, U.S. Army Materiel Command deputy commanding general and acting commander, at the Maj. Gen. Emmett J. Bean Federal Center in Indianapolis June 18.

“To the men and women of [USAFMCOM], I’m excited to work closely with you – each and every one of you,” said Williams in her first address to the command. “You are doing a phenomenal job – you have done a phenomenal job – and I greatly appreciate you exceeding the highest standards by being adaptive and innovative in supporting our ever-changing Army.”

“Transitions are tough, but transitions are part of our Army and part of that fabric that makes us who we are because the transitions are about leaders, but the [unit’s] colors always stay,” said Mohan during the ceremony. “The great news is we’ve got an incredibly capable leader in Michelle Williams.

Williams, a St. Louis native, received a Regular Army commission into the Finance Corps in 1999 as a distinguished military graduate of the Florida Institute of Technology’s Army Reserve Officer Training Corps program after earning a Bachelor of Science in business administration. She also holds a Master of Policy Management from Georgetown University and a Master of Strategic Studies from the Army War College.

“To lead this organization, you must be a technical expert because you have to roll your sleeves up and work, and you’ve got to be a master at organizational design because there’s still work to be done as this organization continues to be operationalized,” said Mohan. “And, we are incredibly blessed that Col. Michelle Williams is that leader, and she is that expert.”

He then drew the attention of the nearly 200-person audience, including serval high-ranking Department of Defense and Army financial management leaders, to Williams’ 25-year career with assignments in both financial management and resource management operations around the world.

“She was the G8 for the XVIII Airborne Corps…responsible for resourcing three incredibly complex deployments to [U.S. Central Command], [U.S. European Command] and [U.S. African Command], where she oversaw portfolios worth billions of dollars,” Mohan explained. “The XVIII Airborne Corps is the nation’s 911 force…and Michelle managed the budget for them and for some very dynamic leaders who didn’t like it when you said, ‘no, there’s no more money.’”

He also recognized her barrier-breaking roles as both the first female Army Congressional Budget Liaison chief at the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Financial Management and Comptroller and the first female Chief of the U.S. Army Finance Corps while serving as the 42nd commandant of the U.S. Army Finance and Comptroller School.

“She worked closely with Congressional appropriators and Army senior leaders to ensure our service was adequately funded, and that is one of the most important jobs that we have at the Pentagon,” said Mohan. “And, Michelle did a phenomenal job down at Fort Jackson, and that’s why she’s sitting here today.

“The Army has recognized her leadership and her potential,” he elaborated. “It is my honor to officially welcome you as the new commander of the U.S. Army Financial Management Command.”

In reply, Williams set out her vision for where USAFMCOM is going as a fully integrated sustainment organization under the AMC umbrella.

“Financial stewardship, accountability, compliance, auditability and readiness are of the utmost importance,” the colonel said. “We will ensure we operate with the highest integrity, transparency and innovation in all financial practices while maintaining our financial readiness in supporting our Army’s mission.

“As the 45th Finance Center continues its journey toward full operational capability, we will ensure robust and accurate theater-level finance planning for large scale combat operations,” Williams continued. “We’re also going to continue to standardize and modernize our Army Military Pay Offices…to ensure our Soldiers’ financial readiness is there to better support their families.” 

The new commander also gave a peek behind the curtain about some exciting things on the horizon.

“We’ll have lots of data analytics and maybe some artificial intelligence and some machine learning in our future,” she said. 

While also looking forward to the future, AMC’s boss took time to look back and thank USAFMCOM’s departing commanding general for her work in operationalizing the command to support theater-level planning and operations and for taking on some of the Army’s toughest challenges with financial management and military pay.

“Strong leadership is a requirement for a dynamic organization, and that strong leadership has been fulfilled by Brig. Gen. Paige Jennings,” said Mohan. “It’s been said that one’s contributions to the battle is not measured by one’s proximity to the battlefield, and that is certainly true for the men and women of this command…and for their leader over the past three years.”

During her remarks, Jennings repeatedly thanked the command for their efforts in supporting USAFMCOM’s transformation through several major milestones including taking on the AMPO mission for the Defense Finance and Accounting Service; taking on the largest transformation of the Army’s finance and comptroller community since the Cold War with a Force Design Update, Jr.; and standing up the 45th FC under USAFMCOM to support the Army of 2030.

To build the Army of 2030, the Army determined it needs to concentrate highly lethal, low-signature combat forces; deliver precision long-range fires; be secure from enemy cyber and electronic attacks; and sustain the fight across contested terrain and over time.

“All of these efforts have one thing in common – money,” said Jennings. “American citizens entrust our Army with their hard-earned money, and here at USAFMCOM…we have the solemn responsibility that every dollar is disbursed, accounted for and auditable, whether in garrison or on the battlefield.

“You have focused on talent management and hiring the right people; you have driven fiscal precision and audit; and you’ve started to integrate data analytics, artificial intelligence, and other opportunities that will increase your efficiency and your effectiveness as we work to account and safeguard the Army’s resources” she continued. “But, above all, you have become a command that is proactively operating with synergy and autonomy to support [AMC], [ASA (FM&C)], [DFAS], and the Army as a whole. I couldn’t be prouder.”

The departing Jennings also took a moment to give advice to Williams about her new job.

“Michelle, as you take command, give them everything,” said Jennings. “Take care of the men and women of this command – care for them, guide them, mentor them, and lead them, but above all, love them.”

And, her parting words to the command were a vote of complete confidence in her successor. 

“To my team I’ve just given up, give her 110 percent just like you gave me,” said Jennings. “I know she will give that in return. Support her and trust her like you did for me; she will not let you down.”

Mohan echoed that sentiment as he wrapped up his comments.

“To the men and women of [USAFMCOM], we couldn’t be prouder of what you do,” he concluded. “You’re on the line every day; if you fail, our Army fails; and I know you will continue to support Michelle just as you supported Paige as we move to the next chapter.”


USAFMCOM delivers precision enterprise-wide financial operations to integrate, synchronize and sustain the battlefield through the Joint Strategic Support Area and directly supports the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Financial Management and Comptroller in their role as the principal advisor on all matters related to financial management and comptrollership.

AMC delivers precision sustainment and materiel readiness to an expeditionary global force from the Joint Strategic Support Area to the tactical point of contact across the spectrum of conflict in support of the Joint Force.