After working for 24 years in legacy systems, Budget Analyst Cheryl Brophy now processes actions in the GFEBS system. (Photo by Pamella B. Gray, PM GFEBS)
Pamella B. Gray
At a time of increased scrutiny of government spending, the General Fund Enterprise Business System (GFEBS) is moving forward to transform the way Army manages its finance and real property accounting. On July 1, GFEBS completed the final wave for full deployment to support more than 50,000 customers worldwide by facilitating the management of nearly $140 billion in the General Fund and an additional $80 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations funds.
Previously, the Army’s finances were tracked by multiple systems that were increasingly inefficient, costly, and outdated, some more than 30 years old. To gain visibility over finances and inventories, many Army commands established their own methods and internal systems. With no clear and complete picture of resources, these antiquated and fragmented systems affected military leaders’ ability to make informed decisions. This ultimately affected the Soldier.
GFEBS transformed this situation. The GFEBS solution will subsume 107 legacy systems into an enterprise-wide system integrating financial, real property, cost management, and performance data. Leaders now have visibility of data not previously available through a single access point, taking into account the true costs of operations, functions, and organizations when making budget decisions to support warfighting capabilities. GFEBS allows leadership to make smarter, faster decisions, whether provisioning troops in the midst of battle to budget planning.
“GFEBS has enabled new financial management capabilities to more than 52,000 end users at 227 locations in 71 countries,” said COL Patrick Burden, the Project Manager for GFEBS. “We have standardized business processes across the active Army, Army National Guard, and Army Reserve.”
GFEBS is not an update of existing legacy systems, but an integrated, web-based solution replacing outdated systems used across the Army and by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service.
“GFEBS is an unprecedented leap forward in Army financial management,” said Edward Quick, Deputy Project Manager for GFEBS. “It will fulfill the mandates for audit readiness and fiscal responsibility.”
GFEBS is the Army’s response to the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990, which requires federal agencies to centralize their finance systems to better account for spending, and the Federal Financial Management Improvement Act of 1996, requiring that federal financial management systems provide accurate, reliable, and timely information to the government’s managers.
As the largest branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, the Army has more than 550,000 Soldiers on active duty. With the more than half-million members of the Army National Guard and Army Reserve, as well as more than 279,000 civilians, “GFEBS touches everyone in the Department of the Army,” Burden said.
In the past three years, GFEBS grew from 1 million transactions and $1.2 billion in obligations in FY09 to 20 million transactions and $30.8 billion in obligations in FY11. GFEBS currently processes approximately 1 million transactions a day and $140 billion of the general fund annually.
“Reaching the full deployment in only seven years places GFEBS as the Army’s flagship Enterprise Resource Planning system,” Burden said. “This initiative is unmatched in the Army and has come to fruition through the efforts of many dedicated personnel.”
GFEBS focuses on simplicity and efficiency for the end user. A member of the Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems (PEO EIS) family of systems, GFEBS reduces financial complexity and promotes standardization, driving improved end-to-end processes, improved compliance with congressional directives, audit-ready financial information, increased internal and management controls, and, most important, timely and accurate data to make informed business and mission decisions that support Soldiers.
“GFEBS’ achievement of the full deployment milestone will be an excellent example of how the Army is providing cutting-edge infrastructure and information management system solutions to meet today’s needs and tomorrow’s challenges,” said Doug Wiltsie, the Program Executive Officer EIS. “The GFEBS team and our strategic partners throughout the Army and DoD have worked tirelessly as a team to mark an important advancement in the Army’s technology evolution.”
System users will realize these benefits, explained MAJ Scott Geary, National Guard Bureau Resource Oversight Branch Chief, because “GFEBS has allowed us to better manage how we execute [these] funds by providing better interoperability with contracting systems, clearer visibility of fund status, and reporting tools that allow improved data analysis from previous systems.”
- PAMELLA B. GRAY is the Communications Specialist for PM GFEBS. She holds a B.A. in secondary English education from the University of Northern Iowa.