England Presents ‘Check It’ Awards to Agencies
By Fred W. Baker III
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, March 24, 2008 Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England today presented seven top “Check It” campaign awards to agencies from across the department for their process-improvement and quality-assurance efforts.
In a ceremony here, England presented four Honorable Mention awards for the most improved processes in the first round of the second phase of the campaign. He also presented awards to three fiscal 2007 Statement of Assurance Scorecard Winners.
The deputy secretary launched the campaign in 2006 to raise awareness of internal controls. This second phase started in October.
“It’s important to the department. It’s important to the warfighter, and therefore it’s important to the nation,” England said at the ceremony. “I thank you.”
Defense Department Comptroller Tina W. Jonas was on hand for the event. In her role, Jonas said, she is always concerned about using government dollars wisely. There are two parts to the program, she said -- improving internal controls, but also delivering products and services to the warfighter in a way that is effective and efficient.
“Our bottom line is not shareholders. Our bottom line is really the warfighter,” Jonas said.
Those receiving the Honorable Mentions were:
-- Financial management improvement program, accounts receivable tracking and reporting, Defense Finance and Accounting Service. The office’s improvements cleared $80 million in old accounts payable and $90 million in old undelivered orders. They reduced delinquent accounts receivable by $2.6 billion, according to award documents.
-- Executive management system, Office of the Defense Research and Engineering, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. The office’s improvements automated financial performance data, resulting in a 97 percent reduction in cycle time, according to award documents.
-- Disbursing and cash management, Joint Special Operations Command, U.S. Special Operations Command. The office improved disbursing and cash management, resulting in no losses or overages and 100 percent accountability for nearly $10 million, according to award documents.
-- The amphibious assault vehicle depot production line, Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, Calif. The program improved the amphibious vehicle production line, reducing cycle time by 25 percent and decreased overtime by 50 percent, while improving quality checks, according to award documents.
Marine Capt. Mike Nolan, who served as the amphibious vehicle program director at the Barstow logistics base, said the process improvements started at the lowest level.
“We built from the bottom up the cultural change to ensure they can make the process better and produce the vehicles of better quality and less cost,” he said after the ceremony. “That saves the Marine Corps money, and the warfighters get a better product.”
Nolan said the Barstow team focused on the assembly line process because that was taking the longest and costing the most. The group developed process-improvement teams and looked at every step of the process. Overall improvement delivered $6 million in savings, and more inspections inherent in the new processes yielded a better product, he said.
In the same category, Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq was awarded first place honors in a ceremony in Iraq last week. Since June, the command reviewed some 950 contracts and freed up $831 million in funds, according to a news release. There were no other placings for the award.
The three scorecard winners are the Joint Staff, the Defense Commissary Agency and the Defense Finance and Accounting Service. As required by the Federal Managers’ Financial Integrity Act, the statement of assurance addresses the management controls of the department and makes required disclosures.
Richard Page, acting director of the Defense Commissary Agency, said accountability starts in the back rooms of the 259 commissaries and 10 distribution centers around the world when receiving, pricing and accounting for all products correctly.
“We do check it, and we do check it twice,” he said.
This is the second straight year the agency has received the award.
“It’s a top-down and bottom-up approach to how we do business,” Page said. “When you start looking at … who we serve and who we support, it is critical that we are doing everything as well as it can be done.”