Air Force Featured Stories

DAF finance professionals collaborate to prepare for Great Power Competition

  • Published
  • By Joe Bela
  • Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center Public Affairs
More than 300 Airmen and Guardians from the Department of the Air Force’s financial management field gathered in San Antonio Feb. 6-9 to confront challenges to the profession at a time of transformation.
 
The sixth annual Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center Financial Services Officer Worldwide Conference gave participants an opportunity to engage DAF senior leaders on changes and challenges facing the DAF’s financial management arena. The event provided a venue for FM professionals to share best practices, cultivate new ideas and foster innovative solutions that can be standardized and implemented across the FM enterprise.  
 
“The whole point about FSO Worldwide is to bring FM folks from all the installations around the globe so we can collaborate and learn from each other as we prepare for the Great Power Competition,” said Melissa Blakesly, AFIMSC financial management director.  
 
FM’s ability to rapidly deliver financial services is vital to the DAF as it seeks to maintain air and space superiority. DAF senior leaders recently revealed 24 decisions that will reshape, refocus and reoptimize the Air Force and Space Force. The actions will better posture the services to deter and, if necessary, prevail in an era of GPC. 
 
“If Airmen and Guardians out there are more concerned about their paycheck than the mission, then we have failed in delivering the customer service they deserve,” Blakesly said. “We will prepare for the Great Power Competition by finding ways to optimize and make our customer service functions more efficient. In this way, our Airmen and Guardians can focus on the missions they need to perform to win.”  
 
FSO conferences also provide participants with the latest training so they can share their new knowledge and expertise with others at their respective bases. More than 600 finance professionals received training at the conference and virtually. 
 
“We primarily focus on the services most customers on base are familiar with – military and civilian pay, travel pay, disbursement and bank operations,” said Capt. Blake Shaul, AFIMSC FM flight chief. “What most people may not know is we also deploy paying agents to foreign countries. They expedite the money to pay for fuel, equipment and other items we need to sustain the mission.”   
 
“We seek innovative approaches to FM operations, standardize them and integrate them into the Financial Management Total Force vision, a necessity as we compete with the larger threats like Russia and China,” Shaul said.  
 
“This is my second FSO conference and I continue to be amazed by the progress we are making in the standardization and innovation realm for both the financial management community and our customers—Airmen and Guardians,” said Angela Trego, AFIMSC Financial Operations Division chief.  
 
“These events give everyone an opportunity to take part in articulating amazing ideas at the lowest levels and sharing them with senior leaders at the highest levels,” Trego said. “Now the real work begins—nurturing our relationships, expanding on these ideas and developing the creative tools we need to enhance our customer services.”