The Department of the Navy (DON) is leading the way in preparing its military and civilian leaders to manage effectively and efficiently by providing diverse training and educational programs. Such programs are becoming more important because of the increasingly complex fiscal environment resulting from transformation, technological advances and a shrinking defense budget.
Sound fiscal responsibility and leadership are areas in which the Department of the Navy is focusing efforts to educate its workforce. The Defense Financial Management and Comptroller School (DFM&CS) can help. Long recognized as a Department of Defense (DoD) Center of Excellence for financial management, comptroller and decision support education, DFM&CS provides high quality joint operational-level continuing education to the DoD financial management community.
One of three financial management courses offered at DFM&CS, the Defense Financial Management Course (DFMC), prepares the DoD workforce to be more proactive in meeting strategic challenges through effective decision-making.
Formerly called the Professional Military Comptroller Course, the DFMC curriculum was dramatically revised three years ago to deliver the most relevant, credible financial management, comptrollership and leadership education available within DoD.
The DFMC four-week course is recommended for GS-12 and above (or equivalent) employees and military personnel. Air Force O3s selected for the Financial Management Leadership Program may attend as an exception. Additionally, attendance is authorized for personnel outside the comptroller career area that are endorsed by the major command/agency comptroller.
The course focuses on decision support which gives emphasis to communication and interpersonal skills, critical thinking, leadership skills, awareness of the diverse DoD financial management environment, conflict resolution and expeditionary warfare and contingency operations.
Decision support training is at the core of all DFM&CS courses and is defined as “enabling people to make informed decisions that optimize resources and mission effectiveness.”
At DFM&CS, the decision support concept is taught as a two-phased process providing leaders with viable alternatives, methods to assess financial and non-financial impacts, assembling a well-supported recommendation and a method for implementing the leader's direction.
Students are required to actively participate, formulate individual and group goals, and successfully complete homework and test requirements. Two tests are administered during the course. They are composed of multiple choice and essay questions related to critical thinking. The course is rigorous and taught at the graduate level.
The course emphasizes a balanced curriculum, faculty instructors lay a firm foundation of principles and practices in each functional area, reinforced by guest lecturers who discuss the application of these principles and practices on the job. Methodologies range from readings, questioning, individual practical exercises, role-playing, student-led discussions and problem solving, to instructor-guided discussions, realistic case studies, and self-paced, computer-assisted simulations.
Students are divided into seminars based upon a careful review of questionnaires they complete. Seminars are mixed by service, background, and whether a student is military or civilian. This procedure greatly enriches the learning experience of all students.
Guest speakers have included:
• Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) senior leaders;
• DoD's Business Transformation Agency leaders, including the Defense Business Systems Acquisition Executive and Director, Transformation Priorities and Requirements - Financial Management;
• Auditor Generals from the departments of the Navy, Air Force, Army and the Coast Guard;