When I reported to what was then Naval Inventory Control Point (NAVICP) Philadelphia back in 2005, I was slated to go into the budget officer job, and work for the comptroller.
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Capt. Ken Epps
I didn’t want to work in the budget job, and let it be known I was interested in pursuing something else. I wanted to work in engines, or with one of the Integrated Weapon Systems Teams (IWSTs). As a newly minted commander, that was where I saw the visibility, the opportunity, and truth be told, the glamour of working in an Inventory Control Point.
“Budget?” I asked incredulously to a few of my mentors, “They are going to stick me under the comptroller, and not in an operating code? No thank you!” Fortunately, one of my mentors took me aside and showed me the naiveté of my thinking. “Ken, all the problems in the building begin and end with money. Follow the money, figure out how to solve people’s problems, and you’ll become the most valuable guy in the building.”
Truer words have never been spoken.
The Navy Supply Corps offers a wealth of career specialties, each one tailored to fit a particular intellectual or professional interest. No specialty has a monopoly on getting you to the top, but some offer an especially keen insight and powerful launch pad as you learn our business and aspire to leadership roles within the Supply Corps and beyond. Financial Management (FM) is unique in this regard, because it crosses disciplines and warfare areas unlike any other specialty.
Do you want to learn a new business quickly? Sit through a few budget reviews with program managers trying to defend their program and budget. Do you think policy and strategy run the Pentagon? They do to a point, but what connects rubber to road and really makes the Pentagon run is the Program Objectives Memorandum (POM) and budget cycle. Understanding where resources come from, how they are employed, and most critically, how tradeoffs are made when there is more demand than supply, is vital to any successful career.
In this edition of the Supply Corps Newsletter, you will hear from a number of voices in our FM community, including one of our recently selected rear admirals. Each article presents a different slice of the FM community, and is intended to educate, entertain and maybe even entice if you’re still deciding on a career path to pursue. Supply Corps leaders, past and present, have plotted a well worn financial management path to the top, and whether you’re interested in financial management as a specialty – or just want to dip your toe in the FM waters – you will be hard pressed to find a more challenging, rigorous and rewarding way to serve.
Follow the money.
By Capt. Ken Epps, SC, USN