American Society of Military Comptrollers
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The American Society of Military Comptrollers is a non-profit profession educational and training organization for military and civilian financial managers who support United States military organizations. The society sponsors research, provides professional development programs to keep members abreast of current government accounting, finance, and budget issues. It administers a professional certification examination. The organization also publishes a professional journal called Armed Forces Comptroller.
History and organization
American Society of Military Comptrollers (ASMC) was established in 1948 San Antonio, Texas. It was originally called the Society of Military Accountants and Statisticians, and was only open to active duty military officers. Since then, the organization has grown to include both military officers, enlisted members of the armed forces, and civilian personnel from all the military services in the United States Department of Defense and the United States Coast Guard, including persons retired from those categories. It also includes employees of contractors to military organizations. Civilian employees now constitute a majority of all ASMC members. Over the years, the society has also expanded membership to include many comptroller related fields. Today, the organization promotes professional development in general financial management, accounting and finance, budgeting, resource management, auditing, statistics and cost analysis, management analysis, manpower management, program analysis, acquisition management, and comptroller related administrative support activities.
The society’s current membership is approximately 18,000 individual members along with 150 corporate members. There are 150 active chapters located in 43 states. There are also a number of chapters located outside the United States. The organization’s headquarters is in Alexandria, Virginia.
On 11 September 2001, sixteen members of the American Society of Military Comptroller were killed when al-Qaeda terrorists crashed a hijacked airliner into the Pentagon. Five other members of the society were injury badly enough to require hospitalization.
Because defense financial management is complex, military comptrollers are encouraged to seek professional certification. The most common certifications are state administered Certified Public Accountant examinations and the national Certified Defense Financial Manager (CDFM) examination which was developed by the American Society of Military Comptrollers.
The CDFM examination is composed of four separate test modules. The first three must be passed to receive basic CDFM certification. The fourth module on acquisition is optional. Those who pass all four modules are identified as CDFM-A. The following is an outline of the topic covered in the four test modules.
- Module 1 covers the military resource management environment including: government resource management environment (15%); defense resource management environment (35%); manpower management (10%); personnel management (15%); management and internal controls (10%); and fiscal law (15%).
- Module 2 covers budget and cost analysis including: planning, programming, budgeting and execution of appropriated funds (60%); cost and economic analysis (20%); business management process improvement (10%); and fiscal law (10%).
- Module 3 covers accounting and finance including: fiscal law (15%); finance (35%); accounting (35%); and auditing (15%).
- Module 4 covers defense acquisition subject matter including: acquisition strategy and the three major defense decision support systems (11%); systems engineering (15%); resource management (10%); life cycle logistics (8%); human systems integration (5%); acquiring information technology (7%); technology protection (5%); test and evaluation (9%); decisions, assessments and reporting (11%); and earned value management (19%).
Examinations are administered by commercial testing organizations throughout the United States. Each examination module contains a minimum of 80 questions. Candidates are allotted two hours to complete each module. To received the basic certification, an individual must pass the first three module examinations. Individuals who complete all four modules are recognized as Certified Defense Financial Manager with Acquisition Specialty. CDFM is an important professional credential for military comptrollers.
As with most professional credentials, the CDFM program requires (1) technical examinations; (2) education; (3) experience; (4) continuing professional education; and (5) subscription to a code of professional ethics.
Professional Development Institute
The purpose of the American Society of Military Comptrollers is to provide professional education and training for military financial managers. To help accomplish this goal, the society hosts an annual Professional Development Institute, normally lasting four days immediately after Memorial Day. The event provides a forum for recognized experts in various comptroller fields to share their knowledge with fellow practitioners. It also allows senior leaders from the Department of Defense and the military services an opportunity to speak to 3,000 to 4,000 military and (mostly) civilian financial managers about professional value, change in the fiscal environment, and national defense priorities.
The American Society of Military Comptrollers publishes a quarterly professional journal called the Armed Forces Comptroller. The purpose of the journal is to encourage professional development and provide a forum for military comptroller personnel to share best practices and new ideas. It also helps keep society members informed of current trends and issues of interest to financial managers working in military organizations. The journal publishes diverse viewpoints on a wide range of comptroller related topics. Because the American Society of Military Comptrollers is a private organization, their journal does not have to reflect the official Government position any given topic. As a result, the Armed Forces Comptroller is widely read and respected as a professional publication.
Awards and scholarships
The American Society of Military Comptrollers sponsors an annual awards program to recognize the outstanding professional accomplishments of military and civilian financial managers working in the Department of Defense and the United States Coast Guard. Society chapter nominate individuals for awards in various comptroller disciplines. Nominees do not have to be a member of the society to be nominated for an award. Award are presented to recognize outstanding accomplishments in the areas of senior level comptrollership; budgeting; resource management; accounting and finance; analysis and evaluation; auditing; manpower management; education, training and career development; and an exceptional intern or trainee award. Awards are presented at two levels Distinguished and Meritorious. Awards are presented at the society’s annual Professional Development Institute.
The American Society of Military Comptrollers also offer scholarships to high school seniors interested in pursuing a college degree in business, economics, accounting, auditing, computer science, or mathematics. The national organization sponsors eleven scholarships each year. There is one $3,000 scholarship, five $2,000 scholarship, and five $1,000 scholarship. Most local chapters sponsor additional scholarship, some offering as much as $4,000.
The Society also sponsors an annual essay competition. The three winners receive cash awards of $750 for first place, $500 for second place, and $250 for third place. All three winners receive a plaque, presented at the society’s Professional Development Institute. The winning essays are also published in the Armed Forces Comptroller magazine.
- "History", American Society of Military Comptrollers, www.asmconline.org, Alexandria, Virginia. 11 July 2008.
- "American Society of Military Comptrollers", ACE National Guide to College Credit for Workforce Training, American Council on Education, Washington, D.C., 2008.
- McCall, James F. and Robert Magnus, "Joint Message to the Members of the American Society of Military Comptrollers", Armed Forces Comptroller, American Society of Military Comptrollers, Alexandria, Virginia, 22 September 2001.
- "Certified Defense Financial Manager Program", American Society of Military Comptrollers, www.asmccertification.com, Alexandria, Virginia, 11 July 2008.
- "Professional Development Institute", American Society of Military Comptrollers, www.asmconline.org, Alexandria, Virginia. 11 July 2008.
- "American Society of Military Comptrollers PDI 2007", Event Archives, United States Department of Defense, 11 July 2008.
- "Armed Forces Comptroller", American Society of Military Comptrollers, www.asmccertification.com, Alexandria, Virginia, 11 July 2008.
- "Individual Achievement Awards", ASMC National Awards Committee, American Society of Military Comptrollers, Alexandria, Virginia, February 2008.
- "National Scholarship Program", Scholarship/Continuing Education Committee, American Society of Military Comptrollers, Alexandria, Virginia, March 2008.
- "Scholarships", Aviation Chapter, American Society of Military Comptrollers, http://www.asmcaviation.org Dayton, Ohio, 2005.
- "Member’s Essay Award", National Awards Committee, American Society of Military Comptrollers, Alexandria, Virginia, February 2008.