22 CPTS - You Can't Buy GAS without the CA$H!

  • Published
  • By Maj. Darrin DeReus
  • 22nd Comptroller Squadron commander
When individuals think of finance, they focus on stories of lost vouchers, overpayments and zero paychecks. These can be true stories, but most could've been stopped or mitigated with a few simple steps. My goal is to share ways you can mitigate these instances and show there is so much more to the 22nd Comptroller Squadron than military and travel pay.

Our squadron serves a population of 12,691 military, civilians and retirees with a total payroll of $405 million. The base has an annual operating budget of $78 million, and it's our job to ensure it's properly managed, allocated and accounted for every step of the way.

Ready Airman
Travel vouchers were once calculated manually and paid out in cash while you waited. It took several hours to file a voucher or any pay document. Travel vouchers now process in the Defense Travel System, or the eFinance system, through the centralized Air Force Financial Services Center at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D. Our focus locally is to assist the customer with filing, auditing and ensuring the voucher is ready to be received by the center. Our customer service hours are 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Mondays through Fridays, and closed on wing training days. Just because the window is shut, this does not mean we are off playing golf. When a member drops off paperwork or sends it electronically, the work for finance has just begun. Customer service receives 14,000 documents annually. All of this is accomplished while still maintaining an average wait of less than six minutes.

Most pay transactions can now be taken care of through MyPay on www.dod.mil/dfas. These systems interface with a 1970's military pay system. This has created unique challenges for comptroller organizations throughout the military. Our customer service section researches those issues, helps the customer and elevates concerns throughout financial management channels.

There are certain tasks that you can do to assist us in our duties. I have reviewed my monthly Leave and Earning Statement for 19 years. It takes very little time out of your day, but could save hours on both ends in the long run. Grab the previous month's Leave and Earnings Statement and compare it to the new one.

- Make sure base pay is correct
- Getting Basic Allowance for Subsistence when you should not ... or are not when you should?
- Check the Basic Allowance for Housing is correct
- If there a statement that says "debt" then "advance debt"--please contact finance
- Are you still getting deployment entitlements you shouldn't?
- Are allotments correct?
- Is your leave correct?
- Is there is a large pay increase that doesn't make sense? Be sure to verify with finance prior to spending that new "pay raise."

This is one step in ensuring a member is financially ready for their mission.

Ready Mobility
Several sections play a part in Ready Mobility. The first is budget. The mobility gear, daily supplies, furniture, construction, services ... everything the base needs to operate is purchased with the "one team, one fight" mentality. This is accomplished with the hard work and coordinated effort of finance, contracting and groups throughout the wing.

On the financial services side, we brief each member to ensure all allotments are in order prior to departure. It is also required that members file an accrual voucher on any TDY longer than 45 days to ensure their Government Travel Card is paid. Members must file a voucher within 5 days of return from any TDY. When a member travels, funds are estimated and set aside for that trip. Upon filing the voucher, the member gets paid (allowing them to pay their GTC through split disbursement) and the remaining funds are returned to the organization and wing for use for future travel. If the member does not file a travel voucher, it delays payment and reimbursement of the travel card, and also ties up resources that could be used elsewhere within the wing.

Ready Base
The 22nd CPTS receives a target from Air Mobility Command headquarters and loads those targets into each account. The squadron then provides a plan for expending funds for the year to the comptroller squadron and follows that plan and defines the requirement to the contracting squadron so they can purchase the items for the base. The comptroller squadron validates items that can be funded legally and paid for with the appropriate funding account, ensuring that our team is ready to "Operate and maintain the world's largest and most diverse KC-135 fleet conducting worldwide mobility operations enabling Global Vigilance, Reach and Power." Nothing can be accomplished without funding.

No one can do an entire mission alone. Pilots need the aircraft to perform the mission. Aircraft can't fly without the maintainers to fix them. Maintainers can't work without the parts from logistics. Logistics can't get those parts without contracting to buy them and contracting can't buy the parts without the funding provided. Although the saying on the 22nd Air Refueling Wing Mission Statement is NKAWTG ... N! I'd argue that you can't buy GAS without the CA$H!