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Comptrollership challenges in East Africa.

The Reserve Supply Corps community supports the fight against violent extremism by filling several key financial billets at Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), Camp Lemonier, Djibouti, Africa. CJTF-HOA's goals are to build friendships, forge relationships, and create partnerships to enable African solutions to African challenges. These efforts enable long term regional stability, help prevent conflict, and protect U.S. and coalition interests. The command employs this "indirect" (i.e. non-kinetic) approach in an East African combined Joint operations area (CJOA) roughly the size of the continental United States. Two mobilized Reserve Supply Corps officers head up the Resources and Requirements Directorate (CJ-8) at CJTF-HOA.

The Directorate is comprised of 13 personnel representing all 4 services (eight Navy--two officer and six enlisted, two Air Force enlisted, two Marines-one officer and one enlisted, and one Army officer), and provides resource management and finance support to the Joint force commander. Resource management includes annual budget plan development, monitoring and reporting execution against the plan, and providing financial advice on numerous issues arising throughout the CJOA. Finance support includes managing the third largest "cash" disbursing operation in the Navy, including currency conversion, cash travel advances, and the use of Paying Agents throughout the CJOA.

East Africa is a unique area of operations, and features a financial infrastructure that is very underdeveloped by western standards. Some CJTF-HOA operations occur in locations hours away from the nearest financial institution or ATM, and a few days travel from Camp Lemonier. Many merchants in the region have no access to banking products and services. Consequently, a large number of transactions are conducted on a cash basis, often without a traditional invoicing or billing mechanism. These circumstances require the use of Field Ordering Officers and Paying Agents to procure and pay for mission essential goods and services not available through standard supply channels. CJTFHOA uses about three dozen Paying Agents collectively holding over $250,000 to support mission requirements. Also, the disbursing office processes a large number of cash travel advances in the CJOA because certain locations do not have ATMs, or hotels and dining establishments that readily accept credit or debit cards.

CJTF-HOA's varied missions and components are funded from several sources. The primary source is global war on terrorism Operations and Maintenance (O&M) Supplemental funding from U.S. Fleet Forces Command (USFF), supplemented by ARCENT and AFCENT O&M funds for assigned Army and Air Force mission activities. Official Representation Funds (ORF) and Traditional Commanders Activities (TCA) monies are provided by USFF and CENTCOM, respectively. Finally, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency provides OHDACA (Overseas Humanitarian, Disaster and Civic Aid) funding for school, medical clinic, and other infrastructure construction projects managed by CJTF-HOA, as well as IMET (International Military Education and Training) funds to support Mil-to-Mil training activities.

As CJTF-HOA's mission has matured since its inception in 2002, the command is moving toward program of record status in the next few years. This change will require the command to move from a contingency operations mindset to one of purposeful and disciplined financial planning to build and justify budget requirements. The command will also make changes to its financial systems to more closely align them with other USFF component organizations.


CJTF-HOA headquarters staff is comprised of about 200 Individual Augmentation (IA) and 100 non-IA personnel. Several dozen key personnel (including CJ-8's director and deputy billets) are designated as "core staff" and rotate as a group once each year. The remainder of the headquarters staff rotates as individual service members, with tour lengths ranging between six and twelve months. The CJ-8 tours present unique opportunities for Reserve Supply Corps officers to gain joint experience in an expeditionary financial environment. These officers provide leadership to the CJ-8 organization charged with responsibility for financial oversight, management control and accountability in an interesting and challenging part of the world.

By CAPT Mark J. Sparling, SC, USN; and CDR Scott P. Kellen, SC, USN

CAPT Mark Sparling, Director, and CDR Scott Kellen, Deputy Director, both of Resources and Requirements Directorate, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, are mobilized on active duty.
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Author:Sparling, Mark J.; Kellen, Scott P.
Publication:Navy Supply Corps Newsletter
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2009
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