'No dollar gets left behind' at fiscal year's end

  • Published
  • By Maj. Steve Gray
  • 96th Test Wing Comptroller Squadron
With the end of fiscal year 2014 fast approaching, the 96th Test Wing is ensuring that no dollar gets left behind, in this severely resource-constrained environment.

The Department of Defense operates on a 0ct. 1 to Sept. 30 fiscal year. Sequestration has highlighted the old adage, "There are always more requirements than there are resources." It's imperative to make every dollar count. Whatever is unspent as of midnight, Sept. 30, is effectively lost.

Approximately 150 professionals from the 96th Civil Engineer Group, 96th Comptroller's Office and the Air Force Test Center Contracting Office, work in unison into the waning hours of Sep. 30 to ensure every dollar is spent on worthy expenses, while also ensuring all unused funds are judiciously reviewed and responsibly spent. Their collective hard work behind the scenes is always greatly appreciated.

Unit and group resource advisors, or budget personnel, also play a pivotal role by identifying their unfunded mission-essential requirements.

There are several "colors" of money financing the 96th Test Wing. Colors of money refer to different appropriations that can only incur new obligations for a specified period of time, always ending on Sept. 30.

On Sept. 1, when Brig. Gen. David Harris, 96th Test Wing commander, takes over all the wing's remaining funds, the whole team comes together to execute an unfunded requirements list, a list of mission-essential requirements identified as unfunded prior to the end of the fiscal year.

The unit and group RAs submit their UFRs to the Financial Management Board, chaired by Harris. At this board, group commanders present their case for a prioritized list of unfunded requirements, in hopes they will get funded.

As contracts are awarded, any remaining residual funds are gathered and compiled. Then, as the amount to fund the next item listed on the priority list is reached, that mission-essential requirement is executed.

The end of a fiscal year always presents opportunities to fund unplanned/special-type expenditures that may or may not have been programmed into the current fiscal year execution plan.

For example, last year's FY 2013 closeout yielded enough fallout funding to make the Integrated Learning Center, located next to Legends' Sports Grill, a reality.

Additionally, we ensure the obligations for planned current year expenditures are recorded prior to midnight, Sept. 30. We successfully close the books by recording the obligations in the accounting system and returning any excess funds to Air Force Materiel Command.

The entire team works together to ensure every dollar counts and is only spent on legal, moral, and ethical items and services. As stewards of taxpayers' money, we make sure all funding is properly accounted for and only necessarily expensed.