Press Release

Schumer, Gillibrand, Hanna Urge Armed Services Committee Leaders To Continue To Protect Rome DFAS Jobs – Push Leaders To Green-Light Provision That Would Provide Congress With Oversight Over DFAS Personnel Plans

Nov 14, 2014

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Representative Richard Hanna 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) that would help provide additional protections for Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) to be included in the final version of the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2015. The House and Senate Armed Services Committees are working to agree on legislative language before the bill goes to the Senate floor so it can move with less opposition. The House bill, passed in May 2014, includes language that requires a briefing by the Department of Defense (DoD) regarding any process that could alter activities carried out by DFAS. This request comes in light of preliminary discussions by the Army that could impact more than 950 jobs in Rome. The Senate has not yet passed its version of the NDAA.

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.

“DFAS in Rome is cost-effective, productive and efficient, and I will continue to look for every opportunity to make sure these good-paying, local jobs are as secure as possible, including through legislation,” said Senator Schumer. “That is why I am urging the Armed Services Committees to preserve language in the final Defense Authorization bill that would institute much-needed protections for DFAS and its 950 employees in Rome. I will fight tooth and nail to make sure my colleagues in Congress know just how important this is to the residents of Central New York.”

“DFAS has remained a critical component in ensuring the transparency of DoD’s accounting and financial management,” said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “Congress must have oversight on any changes that could impact DFAS and the hundreds of employees that work at DFAS in Rome. We will continue to work hard to get the House language included in the final Defense bill that provides protections and gives Congress more oversight over any process that could change the structure of DFAS.”

“DFAS provides a critical function for our defense personnel, and DFAS Rome employees have consistently proven their ability to work very efficiently,” Rep. Hanna said. “The House voted overwhelmingly to maintain transparency and accountability in these processes. Congress simply must maintain its oversight role and provide a voice for the Mohawk Valley in any future discussions.”

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. Schumer, Gillibrand and Hanna are pushing to include the House-passed language from legislation that ensures there is continued Congressional oversight over any Department of Defense activity that would alter DFAS’s structure. 

Full text of the letter to the Armed Services Committees is attached.