52nd FW Airmen fund innovation

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Marcus Hardy-Bannerman
  • 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

For many comptroller squadrons, ensuring 100 percent of all allocated funds are spent by the end of the fiscal year can bring a certain level of stress. However, the Airmen in the 52nd CPTS Financial Management Analysis (FMA) Flight and 52nd Contracting Squadron have worked hard all year to reduce this potential stress and ensure wing priorities stay appropriately funded throughout the fiscal year.

Allocating funds is not an exact science – the wing’s needs change year to year. The ability to analyze trends and reallocate funds as needed can be one of the most difficult parts of closing out the fiscal year. To make things easier for everyone, the FMA flight ensures units’ unfunded requirements, which are requests that cannot be met by their allocated budget, are validated and ready to be funded when additional money becomes available. This has allowed for an organized close out to the fiscal year.

“Everyone has a huge wish list, and we will do our best to make sure that we’re prepped and ready to execute those if we get funding,” said Tech. Sgt. Bryan Driscoll, 52nd CONS Base Infrastructure Flight noncommissioned officer in charge.

Not only is the FMA flight overseeing unit budgets, they also coordinate requests and approvals for multiple unfunded requirement appropriation funds, including Eastern European Response, Agile Combat Employment and Squadron Innovation Funds.

ACE and innovation are pillars that make the 52nd Fighter Wing stand out. To ensure these efforts can be properly funded, the dedicated Airmen of the FMA flight work hard year-round to ensure not just a smooth closeout, but the continued, funded operations of every mission undertaken by the wing.

According to Tech. Sgt. Alex Westing, 52nd CPTS FMA Flight NCOIC, preparing to execute funds on an 11-month schedule gives units, cost managers, commanders and resource managers time to accurately develop spending plans to fulfill financial requirements without a rush.

“You have more time during the entire fiscal year to prep your requirements to ensure they’re executable because contracting has a timeline,” said Westing.

Managing and executing the wing’s budget requires a team effort involving the FMA flight, the 52nd CONS and squadron resource advisors (RA).

Resource Advisors are responsible for managing unit budgets, which involves distributing the money among flights and ensuring each flight lawfully spends their money. The RAs work closely with the 52nd CONS to secure contracts for large purchases and projects to improve the quality of life, structure and defense of the base. All three responsibilities are essential to utilizing base funds where they are needed most.

The wing’s priorities determine how the FMA flight assigns funding for projects and requests. Matters such as construction, Agile Combat Employment and innovation rank high on the wing’s priority list.

“We do a lot to enhance ACE capabilities with the base funds,” said Driscoll. “It’s a huge priority, so if it gets official coding, then finance is able to give it a higher priority.”

Expanding the 52nd FW’s ACE capabilities has been a driving force behind many of the wing’s most prominent innovations. Innovations out of Spangdahlem AB, such as Project ArcWater, a green energy saver and clean water producer, and VIPER Kit, a universal fuel adaptor for Air Force aircraft, have expanded ACE capabilities beyond Saber Nation.

“[The] big thing about Saber Nation is that we are innovators,” said Westing. “We have won Spark Tank multiple years in a row.”

The innovative approaches that the FMA flight takes to the yearly budget ensures that wing priorities are funded and enhances the 52nd FW’s ability to dominate in the European theater.