Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles E. Schumer and Representative Richard Hanna today announced, after their push, a measure that would help provide additional protections for the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) is included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The language included in FY 2015 NDAA requires an independent review by the Deputy Chief Management Officer of an Army pilot program that threatens to harm DFAS. The bill also requires an independent review by the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) of any initiative proposed or pilot initiated in this fiscal year that would permanently transfer functions away from DFAS to anywhere else in the Department of Defense (DoD). Such a review would assess, at a minimum, the impacts on cost, auditability, DFAS capabilities, and the ability of DFAS to maintain DOD-wide services. The findings of these analyses would have to be reported to the Congressional Defense Committees before any proposed transfer is implemented. The FY2015 NDAA was negotiated between the leadership of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees and must now pass both houses.
Gillibrand, Schumer and Hanna have long fought to add more protections for Rome DFAS jobs. In November, the lawmakers called on both the chairs and ranking members of the Senate Armed Services Committee and House Armed Services Committee to preserve language from the already-passed House version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and include it in the final version of the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2015. The House bill, passed in May 2014, includes language that requires a briefing by DoD regarding any process that could alter activities carried out by DFAS. The request came in light of preliminary discussions by the Army that could impact more than 950 jobs in Rome.
“This is an important step in ensuring more protections for the hundreds of Rome DFAS employees,” said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “We pushed hard as a team to make sure the military understood how important DFAS is not only for our community here in New York, but also for the military’s own ability to function as well as it can. Congress deserves more oversight over any process that could change the structure of DFAS and I am pleased that the final NDAA provision will ensure congressional oversight on DFAS’s role. DFAS has remained a critical component in ensuring the transparency of DoD’s accounting and financial management. We will continue to monitor any developments that could impact DFAS and the hundreds of employees that work at DFAS in Rome.”
“DFAS in Rome is cost-effective, productive and efficient, and this is an excellent step in making sure these good-paying, local jobs are as secure as possible,” said Senator Schumer. “This provision would institute much-needed protections for DFAS and its 950 employees in Rome, but we still must remain vigilant in the years to come. DFAS is too important to the Rome economy and its residents to take our foot off the gas in any way.”
“This is a culmination of efforts we have led throughout the year to support DFAS in Rome and promote the efficient and professional work they carry out for our military services,” U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna said. “We are fortunate to have such a committed workforce here in the Mohawk Valley, and I will continue to maintain close oversight of this issue and any other proposals that may adversely affect Rome in the future.”
Earlier this year, more than 950 DFAS employees in Rome became concerned that their largest customer, the U.S. Army, would be restructuring and internalizing a large portion of DFAS’s functions. The concerns are related to the Army’s new enterprise management system that is intended to make financial management more auditable and efficient.
The Defense Finance and Accounting Service was created in 1991 to standardize and improve accounting and financial operations for DoD. They provide payroll services for DoD military and civilian personnel, retirees and other major contractors and vendors. DFAS operates as a separate and unique entity in DoD, to ensure transparency and accountability on behalf of DoD financing and accounting.