It was a project that shouldn’t have been started.
Four years ago, the Army came up with an idea that it should do its own accounting work and pull out of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS), a Defense Department agency that provides services to other DoD components as part of the department’s effort to streamline and consolidate finance and accounting functions. To accomplish this, the Army planned to use active military personnel to do the work at Army installations around the world.
After the Army made its plan public, the AFGE DFAS Council immediately pointed out several serious shortfalls: the Army had to create an entirely new system to duplicate what DFAS had been doing efficiently; the Army was misspending taxpayers’ dollars as military personnel are substantially more expensive than civilians; the Army was harming military readiness as active military personnel should be focusing on protecting the country, not processing payroll; and the Army was killing 3,000 jobs at DFAS.
Due to intense opposition from AFGE, the Army scaled down its plan from a full-blown operation to a pilot project, which started in 2014.
AFGE spent the next three years defending the use of DFAS civilians instead of military personnel to better accomplish the mission in an efficient and cost effective manner.
Our efforts paid off. The Army early this month announced it was ending the pilot project after finding that it could not provide the services with the same efficiency and effectiveness of DFAS.
“After three years of negotiation and with exceptional assistance from both the New York and Indiana Congressional delegations as well as constant direction and assistance from the AFGE national office, AFGE Council 171 was able to show that the work done by over 3,000 civilian government workers was efficient, cost effective, and certainly unable to be duplicated by military personnel,” said AFGE DFAS Council President Edward Abounader.