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Stars: providing better service and regulatory conformance at reduced costs.

The cornerstone of the Navy's General Fund accounting operations, the Standard Accounting and Reporting System (STARS), is providing better service and regulatory conformance at reduced costs to the Navy and the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) through a series of aggressive actions over the past two fiscal years. Introduction of the United States Standard General Ledger (USSGL) structure, system infrastructure improvements and accounting refinements, and facilitation of interfaces with major DoD standard information systems are dramatically improving service and lowering costs.

Today personnel ranging from shipboard storekeepers to financial specialists at systems commands utilize this General Funds accounting, billing, and reporting system. Over 12,000 worldwide users, supporting over 2,600 activities, use STARS to process an average of 15 million accounting transactions each month. With newly designed interfaces to the DFAS Corporate Database (DCD) and the Defense Travel System (DTS), and planned interfaces with Navy Enterprise Resource Planning Pilot Projects, the robust 21st century accounting system will provide even greater support and information to the user in a seamless manner.

STARS consists of three major subsystems: Funds Distribution and Reporting (FDR), Headquarters (HQ), and Field Level (FL). Direction and funding for the STARS effort is provided by the DFAS-Cleveland (DFAS-CL) center, the program sponsor. The Navy Supply Information Systems Activity (NAVSISA) serves as the central design activity (CDA) for software development, maintenance, and customer support for two of the three STARS major subsystems (HQ & FL). In accordance with federal direction, the vendor pay/entitlement (One-Pay) portion of STARS was separated from the accounting/reporting functions at the beginning of fiscal year 2002, with oversight of these programs transferring to the program sponsor, DFAS Columbus, and the CDA functions remaining at NAVSISA. The FDR functions remain with DFAS-CL.

This article provides a recap of major actions taken over the past two years to ensure STARS conformance with regulations while improving service and reducing costs.

USSGL Structure Introduction

In support of federal accounting standards, the introduction of the USSGL structure was implemented in September 2001. To assist users, the old Universal General Ledger Account (UGLA) format is also being maintained but will be retired by the close of fiscal year 2002. The introduction of the USSGL structure provides commonality of ledgers and standardized account numbering within all accounting systems. NAVSISA design accountants and DFAS-CL personnel are working closely with the major Navy commands to refine queries and reports that are presented to the users using these new account numbers and are making significant progress towards the goal of standardized financial reports.

Accounting Refinements and System Infrastructure Improvements

Current accounting endeavors and projected changes include the introduction of elimination entries and closing entries. The Elimination Entries Project addresses eliminating entries for intra-governmental reconciliation in compliance with DoD Financial Management Regulation (FMR). To perform these elimination entries, the line of accounting must be identified to the Treasury Index. The Closing Entries Project will provide compliance with the FMR to provide for the automatic generation of recurring month-end and year-end closing entries and automated rollover of the general ledger account balances. Both of these projects are scheduled for completion this fiscal year.

The STARS system is also improving the Navy Comptroller (NAVCOMPT) Form 2036 process (reconciliation of expenditures) to address FMR Chapters 2 and 14 requirements. In Phases I and II, an automated monthly report will provide the capability to reconcile differences between expenditures and collections posted in STARS and expenditures and collections distributed on the Centralized Expenditure Reimburse Processing System/Daily Expenditure File Report. This reconciliation tool will help DFAS-CL network field entities to ensure proper reconciliation of expenditures and collections is being performed. The report will also serve as supporting documentation for undistributed amounts at field accounting sites. The reconciling undistributed amounts will be to the detail levels. DFAS/ NAVSISA is assessing the need for further efforts on this project. The 2036 Project is scheduled for release this year.

Major Information System Interfaces

The interface to the Defense Travel System (DTS) will be functional for all Navy DTS users this year. Projected Navywide rollout for DTS is mid-2003. The first Navy pilot sites include Department of Navy Chief Information Officer, Chief of Naval Operations N41, and the Joint Staff Forces College in Norfolk, Va. Travelers from these sites will be able to cut and modify their own travel orders, create travel claims online, and receive e-mail notification of changes and payments. These transactions will post real-time in the accounting/disbursing systems and provide for a seamless, fast, and accurate travel system. In 2003, the Central Billed Accounts (CBA) and group travel functionality will be provided to the traveler.

Another DoD initiative is the posting of all transactions to the DFAS Corporate Database (DCD). STARS has successfully tested and implemented limited transaction posting to DCD. With the implementation of all transactions going to the DCD, complete reporting should become more accurate and efficient at the end of the year.

NAVSISA programmers, functional analysts, and designers are also working closely with personnel from the Navy's Enterprise Resource Planning Projects (ERP) pilot projects. The close cooperation experienced with this effort will make the transition to ERP smoother.

Cost Savings

The NAVSISA/DFAS team continues to take steps to achieve savings and add value to the Navy's General Fund accounting operations. To effect cost savings, many of the STARS regional databases are merging into one region. The first merge, the Oakland, Calif., to San Diego effort, has been completed. The next major merge is the Rota, Spain, merge into Pensacola, Fla. Also DFAS-CL Cash Reporting for the Financial Reporting System (FRS) has announced plans to consolidate the number of Federal Information Processing Centers (FIPCs) being used for FRS Reporting.

This consolidation eliminates one processor and consolidates all databases on a single processor. Reduction of operating costs remains a top goal of DFAS and the Navy. STARS has planned on the use of IBM's MQ series (Message Queue) for all interfaces, which will provide for near real-time access/update to the STARS databases. MQ is a secure means of data transfer between platforms. This technology will allow for better integration into the future DoD systems architecture, which is being developed by IBM for the DoD Financial Management Modernization Program. In the future, most batch processing will be eliminated, reducing cost and providing more real-time information.

Reduction of individual Query Management Facility (QMF) reports by identification of commonality is another cost-saving effort underway. QMF allows users to query the databases on an ad hoc basis. As these are identified, they will be reduced to a standard QMF, or batch report for all users. This coupled with MQ series technology and other COTS products will aid DFAS-CL in obtaining greater efficiency of the hardware and software suites. While transparent to most users, these changes will continue to lower operating costs. Reduced maintenance, data storage, interfacing, and operating costs are passed on to the Navy by DFAS.


Under DFAS and Navy direction, STARS continues as the "accounting work horse" of the 21st century. Aggressive actions during the past two years have allowed STARS to keep pace with regulatory conformance requirements while significantly reducing costs and improving service. These accomplishments also position STARS to support future DoD financial developments.

Wayne B. Mumma has over 20 years of project management experience. He is President of the Keystone Chapter of the Project Management Institute, a member of the Information Systems Specific Interest Group, and a member of the ISSIG Symposium Presentation Review Committee for San Antonio 2002. He has served as designer for the Integrated Item Management and Procurement System, as a liaison for the Joint Logistics Systems Command and is a graduate of the Naval Supply Systems Command's Corporate Management Development Program.

Wayne B. Mumma STARS Project Officer, Navy Supply Information Systems Activity
COPYRIGHT 2002 U.S. Department of the Navy, Supply Systems Command
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Author:Mumma, Wayne B.
Publication:Navy Supply Corps Newsletter
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2002
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