What can a Reservist add to the mission when time is short, funds are limited and expertise is key? Simple answer … Years of experience that can be quickly assimilated and put into action from the moment they are called upon.
Since 2011, the Navy and other Department of Defense (DoD) agencies have been engaged with responding to congressional mandates to ensure oversight of Financial Improvement Plan/Financial Improvement and Audit Readiness (FIP/FIAR).
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Cmdr. Mike Gomes, SC, USN
One area of focus throughout the Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Enterprise is to validate the inventory accuracy and the Finance/Inventory Control measures in place that oversees the Navy Working Capital Fund-Supply Management (NWCF-SM) Inventory currently valued at more than $31 billion. The systems to manage these inventories span the Navy’s Enterprise of more than 700 organic and commercial sites, including facilities operated or managed by System Commands (SYSCOMS), Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) and commercial contractor partners.
Each segment have diverse business practices that challenge the managers at NAVSUP, its Weapons Systems Support (WSS) and Global Logistic Support (GLS) commands to examine all its key business processes. This includes the operating systems, procedures and guidelines necessary to assert a sustainable program that can withstand independent audit engagements from internal and external auditors on an ongoing basis.
Navy leadership recognized years ago that in order to effectively compete in today’s competitive business environment, improvement in several areas was necessary. This was exemplified by the Navy’s efforts to enhance its business practices including the introduction of the Navy’s state-of-the-art Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system which was launched in 2011 to address the increasing demands of a rapidly diverse commercial environment. In a new age of more efficient supply chain management, sound audit compliance and effective cost control measures are essential elements to keeping our Supply Corps ready to provide the best service possible as we continue to meet the missions of the Navy today and in the future. Once again, Navy Reservists have been able to align themselves with their active duty counterparts and government civilian workforce as key contributors to this mission.
During the past year, Reservists have found themselves on the front end of the logistics spear, working in warehousing facilities imparting and gaining valuable experience in Navy ERP as they assisted in the multitude of data processing requirements to get thousands of legacy records up-to-date in Navy ERP. This was no small task, and it required a great deal of effort to accomplish. Skill sets that many Sailors obtained in the general and commercial workforce were immediately deployed and returned extensive value to the initiative.
At NAVSUP, there was a need for existing policies to be revised and new FIP/FIAR guidance to be produced and introduced, while other divisions continued the audit readiness preparation which is on track to be in the coming fiscal year.
I was called on to active duty primarily because the more than 15 years working with the SAP (Navy ERP), general auditing and financial management, compliance control process, external and internal reporting experience was to a great degree what the Navy was looking for to help meet FIP/FIAR compliance readiness. This assignment was certainly going to open many areas of opportunity to not only learn more about how the Navy runs its business, but to share with my colleagues how the corporate world responded to FIP/FIAR compliance of another sort; Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX). The Sox compliance requirements established by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2002 were instituted for all publically-traded corporations to attest to financial and internal controls of their organizations. Independent Public Accounting firms (auditors) are entrusted to evaluate an organization’s programs of internal controls and attest to their accuracy. Opinion letters are required to be issued by the auditors once extensive sets of tests of these controls are evaluated. FIP/FIAR was enacted for the same purpose across the DoD.
Partnering with all facets of the Enterprise, Reservists such as myself who have walked down these roads having engaged in years of financial and process control audits examining and revising business processes are only a few reasons why the Navy seeks out such resources. Corporate business leadership is often an excellent source to help other organizations get a different perspective on how to improve existing corporate competencies and address where others may be in need of improvement.
Such business leaders can facilitate the initiatives to meet the changing demands facing the corporate business world who have already had to respond and implement systems along the way to continue to be competitive. Our active duty, Reserve and civilian professional counterparts bring together as many key resources as needed, who are all focused on one essential element; to meet the needs of our Navy and country, wherever and whenever necessary, today and in the years to come.
By Cmdr. Mike Gomes, SC, USN
Supply Operations and Logistics Policy
Headquarters, Naval Supply Systems Command