Welcome to The Defense Financial Management & Comptroller School (DFM&CS)
FM Education...Ready and Relevant.
Our vision at the Defense Financial Management & Comptroller School (DFM&CS) is to be a Department of Defense (DoD) center of excellence, providing multi-disciplined, advanced Financial Management education to support the warfighter. To fulfil that vision, our faculty teaches two courses: the Defense Financial Management Course (DFMC) and the Defense Decision Support Course (DDSC). DFMC is taught in a blended learning manner, with approximately one-week of course work completed via distance learning at home station and three weeks in-residence at Maxwell AFB. DDSC is a four-day, in-residence course taught at Maxwell AFB and at locations around the world.
The DFM&CS mission is to provide world class Financial Management education for DoD personnel by delivering advanced course work in a joint learning environment. We strive to expand student skill sets by covering more than just basic financial management topics. DFM&CS uses resident and adjunct faculty along with guest speakers to provide a robust curriculum... enhanced financial management principles and current issues; critical thinking; strategic orientation; conflict resolution; fiscal law; leadership; decision support; and fiduciary responsibilities.
My dedicated and highly qualified staff and I are here for you. We promise your DFM&CS experience will be challenging and personally gratifying, but your overall learning experience will depend on your active participation and successful completion of course requirements. We facilitate your learning through lectures and interactive exercises, but your participation and interaction with fellow classmates will be the keys to your successful learning experience.
We look forward to partnering with you as you grow to the next level of financial management and leadership.
LOUISE A. SHUMATE
Director, Defense Financial Management & Comptroller School
|Col Louise A. Shumate|
Be the Department of Defense center of excellence providing multi-disciplined advanced Financial Management education to better support the warfighter.
Provide world class Financial Management education for Department of Defense personnel by delivering advanced course work in a joint learning environment.
- Prepare graduates to advise senior leaders in future strategic decision support roles
- Broaden awareness of the diverse financial management framework within DoD
- Understand the impact of the strategic environment on the DoD mission
- Enhance leadership and interpersonal skills
In a memo dated 21 Oct 65, Mr. Robert N. Anthony, Assistant Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), tasked Mr. Leonard Marks, Jr., Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Financial Management) to take the lead in a financial management study. His twofold challenge was to determine whether the DoD was doing an adequate job of educating comptroller personnel and educating all managers in DoD on the financial aspects of their jobs. On 11 Jan 66, Mr. Marks established a joint service task force to conduct a study of financial management education in the DoD. The Steering Committee consisted of Mr. Marks, Mr. Charles F. Baird, Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Financial Management), and Mr. W. Brewster Kopp, Assistant Secretary of the Army (Financial Management). Thirty representatives from the three Services formed the Executive Committee, Advisors and other panel members. The study did not include the Marine Corps.
The study of Financial Management education in the DoD (known as the MEDoD study) primarily addressed the in-place training and education programs for financial managers supporting comptrollership functions. It also considered other courses containing financial management subjects that prepared other managers for the financial aspects of their jobs.
Public Law established the position of Comptroller in DoD and each of the military departments in the same timeframe as the National Security Act of 1947. The law reflected congressional appreciation for public concern about financial management and the resources required for defense. Nearer the time of the MEDoD study, Public Law 84-863 stated that the Secretary of Defense and each of the military departments should achieve and maintain a level of proficiency in financial management that ensures good stewardship of public resources for national defense.
Part of the findings of the MEDoD study included an analysis of the Service concepts of comptrollership: 1) The Army operates under the principle that comptrollers should be generalists rather than financial specialists. 2) The Navy concept is that all military officers are generalists. 3) The Air Force positions the comptroller as a financial specialist first and generalist second. However, the study noted that while the Air Force established a career path for officers in comptrollership, it did not have a formal career development program.
The MEDoD study concluded that current job and qualification standards indicated military departments tend to accept a lower level of professional competency in comptrollership than what the Public Law required. For example, an officer was considered fully qualified after only one year on the job, although there may have been no formal training or formal education in a comptroller-related field. The general recommendations of the MEDoD study were issued in a report dated 13 Mar 67. They addressed career planning and training and education. The Air Force developed the Professional Military Comptroller Course (PMCC) in response to the MEDoD study.
In 1968, PMCC began operations providing "education" versus "training" at the professional level. The course was intended to bridge the gap between functional area expertise and broad managerial responsibilities. The inaugural 12-week class of 23 Air Force students ran from 5 Aug 68 to 25 Oct 68. Initially, the course was to be conducted three times a year with 25 students. Beginning in 1969, the student load increased to 40. Later that year, the Air Force shortened the course to nine weeks.
In 1973, as a result of a Financial Management Improvement Conference among representatives of the three military Services and the DoD (Comptroller), a special task group recommended PMCC be made available to the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and other DoD agencies. At this time, the Army and Navy agreed to provide one highly qualified faculty member each. In 1973, the course reduced to eight weeks, the student load increased to 60, and the school's name was changed to the Professional Military Comptroller School (PMCS).
In 1992, the course was offered five times a year, and the course length was reduced to six weeks.
To make the course more relevant and academically credible, the Air Force transformed PMCS once more in 2004. This transformation included a complete revision of curriculum, the formation of a Cross-Service Advisory Committee, and a change in selection criteria. To complete the transformation, the Air Force, as Executive Agent, approved a name change for the school in May 2005. PMCS became the Defense Financial Management and Comptroller School (DFM&CS). The "Defense" prefix emphasizes the "Joint" nature of the student body and course content. Classes include more students from each of the military Services, the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS), and other DoD agencies than in the past. "Financial Management" was added to the title to reflect the inclusion of numerous financial subjects in addition to traditional military comptrollership. Course length was also shortened to four weeks. The enhanced learning environment included more interactive exercises and fewer lectures.
In 2005, DFM&CS recognized a lack of good decision support skills in students from various classes. This discrepancy identified the requirement for additional instruction in this area. The DFM&CS Director proposed the development of a decision support workshop to the Air Force FM Executive session in October 2005. In December 2006, the school received approval from Air University to establish a new one-week course to help educate members of the financial management community on the basic principles of decision support.
The DFM&CS tested the new Defense Decision Support Course (DDSC) in June 2007 and implemented four iterations of the new one-week course beginning in FY08 at Maxwell AFB. Due to the high quality of instruction and the relatively short duration of the course, installations began to request that DFM&CS bring the new course to their home stations in FY08. The DFM&CS faculty conducted four such classes that year with overwhelmingly positive response. To more efficiently use facility space and to increase the number of DDSCs the school could offer, the DFM&CS proposed and the Advisory Committee approved a course mix of four in-residence DFMCs, four in-residence DDSCs and six mobile DDSCs beginning in FY10.
In 2012, DFM&CS transformed DFMC to a blended learning construct in which approximately one-week's worth of material is completed via distance learning and three weeks are completed in-residence at Maxwell AFB. The first blended learning DFMC occurred in January 2013.
The DFM&CS faculty consists of members representing the Army, Navy, Air Force, and DFAS. The blended learning DFMC is offered three to four times a year with up to 45 students per class. The typical class reflects the demographics of the career field (predominantly civilian) and other defense partners. The four-day DDSC is offered both in-residence (twice a year) and as a mobile training course (8 - 10 times a year) at locations around the world.
DFM&CS courses are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission of Colleges, National Association of State Boards of Accountancy, and the American Council on Education. This means CPAs, CIAs, CDFMs, CDFM-As, etc. can use our courses to fulfill their annual continuing professional education (CPE) requirements, and college students can use our courses to fulfill some academic requirements.
Concept of Operations:
The Defense Financial Management Course (DFMC) bridges the gap between technical functions and broad financial management and leadership. The course is designed to develop critical thinking, analytical, leadership and conflict resolution skill sets. It also works to take foundational financial management skills to the next level. Successful students earn graduate credit hours and continuing professional education (CPE) credits. Students also have the option to participate in other useful electives such as the DFMC version of Toastmasters called ''Speak Easy." The faculty achieves its mission through guest lectures, interactive seminars, case studies, and facilitated exercises. The students are asked to actively participate, formulate individual and group goals, and successfully complete homework and test requirements. Students must successfully complete several assessments during the course. Students must also successfully complete a multiple page advocacy or position paper, and will make several formal presentations during the course. The course is taught at the graduate level and offers a highly rewarding learning experience. The course is paperless (for the most part) and employs electronic media. Students should bring or will be issued laptop computers to facilitate course completion requirements. Students should have a basic knowledge of computing devices, as well as word-processing and presentation software before attending the course.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: The Defense Financial Management Course focuses on developing broad comptroller skills to include critical thinking, analysis, advisory responsibilities, strategic orientation, leadership, and effective communications. This mission is achieved through presentations, interactive seminars, networking, small group discussions and facilitated exercises. The course bridges the gap between technical functions and broad financial management leadership. The students must actively participate, formulate individual and group goals, and successfully complete homework and test requirements. The course is challenging and taught at the graduate level.
GOAL OF THE DEFENSE FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT COURSE: Broaden student awareness of the diverse DOD financial management framework, impact of the strategic environment on the DOD mission and prepare them to overcome challenges by improving critical thinking, analytical, leadership and conflict resolution skill sets.
WHAT TO EXPECT AT THE DEFENSE FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT COURSE: The faculty and staff are committed to providing a "world-class" education at the graduate level. Faculty instructors lay a solid foundation of principles and practices in each functional area. Guest lecturers then discuss the application of these principles and practices. Methodologies range from reading, questioning, individual practical exercises, role-playing, student-led discussions, and problem solving, to instructor-guided discussions and realistic case studies. The DFMC curriculum includes three focus areas: Leadership and Communications, DoD Strategic and Financial Management Environment, and Decision Support. DFMC is a "near paperless" course. As such, we provide most of your class material to include class schedule, assignments and required reading electronically to each student's online learning system account. To be successful in the course, you must be comfortable working in this environment. Each DFMC has approximately forty students divided into small groups (seminars) of ten or less students from the different services (both military and civilian). You will complete most activities and requirements as a seminar, so dust off your group dynamics skills before you get here. This collaborative environment greatly enriches the learning experience of all students. Students will have a wide variety of opportunities to work on their communications skills. All students will provide two short presentations during the course. Selected students will also have the opportunity to meet and introduce guest speakers. For those wanting additional practice in the area of verbal communications, the school offers a "SpeakEasy" elective modeled after the Toastmasters Program. Additionally, students are required to complete multiple writing assignments during the course. Normal class hours are 0730-1630, but do not be surprised to find that some additional time outside of the class hours is required to complete your assignments/group projects.
Block of Instruction:
LEADERSHIP AND COMMUNICATION: This instruction area focuses on understanding the importance of working well with others, leading teams, and effectively communicating. Students actively participate in exercises and complete requirements relating to group dynamics, communication, team leading and conflict resolution. The importance of working well with others, properly communicating ideas and understanding basic leadership concept is cruical to the development of an efficient and effective working environment. Senior leaders present their perspectives on leadership and the FM career field through the course. Each students is expected to reflect on his/her personal beliefs about leadership and then develop a personal leadership approach. Students leave with a documented definition of leadership, enchanced personal communication skills, and a better understanding of the dynamic DoD leadership environment.
DoD STRATEGIC AND FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT ENVIRONMENT: This instructional area focuses on DoD's financial processes, controls, and information. Faculty and guest speakers discuss various types of DoD funding along with fiscal law concepts and how they impact the financial manager. Students learn the purpose and the effect of key legislation on performance measurement, audit readiness, and financial operations. In addition, students increase their knowledge on the DoD resource allocation system ( Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution--PPBE) and the Defense Acquisition System process. This area also introduces the FM professional to the Department's strategic view and how it impacts financial management. Faculty and the guest speakers will present up-to-date information on how the economy, military strategy, and politics impact the budget process and how to provide decision support in a dynamic environment. The FM framework provides the students an understanding of the current challenges facing resource managers.
DECISION SUPPORT: This instructional area is designed to develop decision support skills sets to include critical thinking, analysis, advisory responsibilities,strategic orientation, leadership, and conflict resolution. Students achieve this mission through active participation in informal lectures, interactive seminars, small group discussions, and facilitated exercises. Students use critical thinking and analytical skills to develop, evaluate, and clearly communicate alternatives, projections, impacts, and recommendations in a concise, actionable, and timely manner to decision makers.
The DFMC evaluation process has two broad objectives: (1) evaluation of student performance to measure achievement of behavioral objectives established by the faculty and (2) evaluation of the faculty, guest speakers, educational materials and other facets of the curriculum to determine if the course is meeting the needs of the comptroller community and the DoD. Students achievement of behavioral objectives is measured using several methods including exams, written and oral presentations, seminar participation and problem solving exercises. Students must actively participate, formulate individual and group goals, and successfully complete assignments. Exams are composed of multiple choice and essay questions related to course content. Evaluation of the course is accomplished by several means. An on-line critique system provides real-time feedback through required and voluntary student submissions. The broad use of a variety of evaluative indicators enable the school director to measure student learning, continue to improve instructional methods and update the curriculum to make the course continously responsive to user needs. End-of-course critiques and post-course surveys are also used to continually monitor course effectiveness.
Electives and Other Opportunities:
DFMC offers a host of other opportunities for personal growth and development. Generally, these electives occur over the lunch period, and students may bring a brown bag lunch in order to participate. These include:
SPEAK EASY: Are you interested in conquering your fear of public speaking? If so, Speak Easy is an elective especially made for you! Join in for 6 lunch periods and learn the art of taming your public speaking fears. This elective is designed to help participants improve their speaking abilities in a non-threatening and toastmaster-like environment. Each week, participants get an opportunity to practice various roles and speak about simple everyday topics. The excitement of learning to control anxiety and cure the tendencies to use meaningless words is contagious! You are sure to learn your personal expressions of nervousness while learning techniques to control them. During this elective, students learn the art of eye contact, body language, meeting facilitation, projection, presentation development, lectern etiquette and much more. This is a positive learning environment where students appreciate the opportunity to confidently and courageously express themselves. The optimal class size for this elective is less than 15...signup early!
TRUE COLORS PERSONALITY ASSESSMENT: True Colors is a personality assessment used at DFM&CS and numerous other organizations to determine the dominate personalities of team members. The goal is to educate students on communication styles, motivators and values. Together, participants learn to appreciate the roles and contributions of others. This knowledge is a true asset for interpersonal relationships and group dynamics.
Concept of Operations:
The DDSC focuses on the concepts related to understanding decision support and becoming more relevant financial advisors. Students selected for this course should be ready and willing to broaden their perspective on critical thinking and communicating results. The course is paperless (for the most part) and employs electronic media. For the in-residence course at Maxwell AFB, students should bring laptop computers to facilitate course completion requirements. For those unable to bring a laptop, one will be issued. Students should have a basic knowledge of computing devices, as well as word-processing and presentation software before attending the course.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: The DDSC focuses on the concepts related to understanding decision support and the transforming roles of staff officers. The course defines decision support, introduces the Decision Support model, describes various analytical tools and techniques (both qualitative and quantitative), and allows students to practice putting the concepts into action through practical exercises. To achieve maximum effectiveness, students selected for this course should already possess a broad knowledge of the DoD FM environment, a strategic perspective, and above average critical/creative thinking and oral/ written communication skills.
GOAL OF THE DEFENSE DECISION SUPPORT COURSE (DDSC): Familiarize students with a decision support methodology through experiential learning and practical application in order to help prepare graduates to advise senior leaders. As such, students will: 1) develop awareness and enhance skills in using decision support techniques, 2) understand the impact of interpersonal skills on decision support roles, 3) broaden awareness of financial management tools that enhance decision support, 4) comprehend decision support concepts and the impact on senior leaders, and 5) learn to apply decision support processes in their organization.
WHAT TO EXPECT AT THE DEFENSE DECISION SUPPORT COURSE: Each Defense Decision Support Course (DDSC) has approximately forty students divided into small groups (seminars) of ten or less. You will complete most activities and requirements as a seminar, so dust off your group dynamics skills before you get here. Normal class hours are 0730-1630, but don't be surprised to find that some additional time outside of the class hours is required to complete your assignments/group projects.
During the course, you will experience decision support first-hand by using the DFM&CS decision making model in interactive lessons, case studies and practical exercises. You should be ready and willing to broaden your perspective on critical thinking and communicating results as this will be tested throughout the course. We will present a process that combines quantitative and qualitative factors into feasible alternatives, recommendations and, ultimately, informed leadership decisions. The course will culminate with each seminar demonstrating how to identify the issue, perform analysis, build alternatives and provide recommendations to "the commander" in a clear and concise manner.
SAF/FME solicits nominations for DFMC from the MAJCOMs who in turn, solicit nominations from the field. Nomination packages should be submitted to MAJCOMs and SAF/FME in accordance with the instructions in the call for nominees. SAF/FME then conducts a central selection board based on MAJCOM-provided nominees and sends selection notification letters to the MAJCOMs after the board meets. Selectees are centrally funded by the Air Force.
For DDSC, MAJCOMs forward a prioritized list of nominees for consideration. If there are more nominees than available seats, the DFM&CS course director selects and notifies students based on the MAJCOM priorities.
Nominations are made through the Army Comptroller Proponency. You can find more information on Army selections at the following link: Army Financial Management
Navy and Marine Corps:
Nominations are submitted through the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Financial Management and Comptroller) Special Assistant for Human Capital (FMH). Travel and per diem expenses for DFMC and DDSC students not in a PCS status are Unit funded. Point of contact is FMH at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nominations are solicited through the DFAS Chiefs of Staff. Travel and per diem expenses are centrally funded by DFAS. POC is the Learning and Development Division at 317-212-2408 or DSN 699-2408.
DoD Agencies make selections based on a "best qualified" basis. If interested in attending either DFMC or DDSC, be sure to coordinate with your Agencies' training officials. They should be able to assist you in getting the needed information for you to apply to attend the course.
Q - How do I obtain a copy of my transcript?
A - Unfortunately, our School does not keep class certificates on file. The only way to obtain official class attendance verification is requesting a school transcript. You must complete and submit an AU Transcript Request Form at AU Education Support. Click on the AU Transcript Request link (www.aueducationsupport.com) and follow the instructions. If required, please reference course MLMDC 503 (DFMC) or MLMDC 504 (DDSC) in the appropriate section.
Q - When are the classes?
A - Please review the available Course Schedule listed on this webpage.
Q - What should I bring to class?
A - Selected students should review their welcome package for complete details. However, optional items for DFMC include bowling ball/shoes, covered drink container, and a personal computing device.
Q - What type of computing device do I need?
A - Although we have laptops available for issue to those who need them, we highly encourage you to bring your own device (i.e. laptop) with word-processing and presentation/brief building capability (preferably MS Office products for format compatibility). You'll likely find wireless access, connectivity speed, etc. to be better with your own device. The student-issued laptops currently use either a DoD off-network machine with MS Office and Wi-Fi, or a limited operating system (Lightweight Portable Security) with very basic word-processing and presentation software functionality. If you bring a work computer, check with personnel at your home station that you are allowed to connect to the internet via Wi-Fi. Our student-issued laptops cannot be loaded with any commercial software, but can connect to the Internet in billeting, the hotel, or other Wi-Fi locations. Wireless internet access for your personal devices is available at several locations across the base, such as select lodging facilities and the library. This is a free commercial service, open for commercial email and other personal uses.
Q - Who makes my lodging reservation?
A - DFM&CS will make your lodging reservation for you.
Q - Is there Wi-Fi (Wireless) internet connection available on base?
A - There are multiple locations including lodging and the AU Library. This is non-government, commercial "public" wireless service and may only be used with your personal laptop.
Q - Do you have maps of the base?
A - A base map will be accessible on Blackboard after students receive their welcome letter from DFM&CS.
Q - Are there physical requirements?
A - There are no physical requirements for admission to DFMC or DDSC. However, military members must meet their respective Service's weight and appearance standards.
Q - Are there education-level or degree requirements?
A - Yes. Each Service and/or Agency has its own education and experience requirements. In general, each requires a bachelor's degree as a minimum and several years of experience in resource or financial management. In addition, DFMC is a graduate-level course and students should be prepared and able to participate/think/write at the graduate level.
Q - What is the appropriate attire for the class?
A - Civilian: Civilian personnel must wear appropriate business attire on class days (Monday – Friday). Blue jeans, collarless shirts (e.g. "t-shirts"), tennis shoes, sandals without heels (e.g. "flip-flops") sweatpants, sweatshirts, etc., are not considered appropriate attire. Men are highly encouraged to wear a dress shirt with tie. Proper attire for the end-of course dinner is coat and tie for men and similar attire for women (cocktail dress, suit, etc.).
Military: Military members must wear their Service utility uniform (ABUs, ACUs or NWUs) on class days (Monday – Friday), and must meet their respective Service's weight and appearance standards. Proper attire for the end-of-course dinner is coat and tie for men and similar attire for women (cocktail dress, suit, etc.).
Q - Are waivers available to allow lower grades/ranks to attend DFM&CS courses?
A - Yes! Each Service/Agency has its own process; however, high-performing candidates at the lower grades/ranks may compete favorably for a slot in either DDSC or DFMC. A recent change for DFMC, Air Force E-9s are no longer eligible to attend DFMC.
Q - How do I know if I have been selected?
A - Your respective Service/Agency representative will contact you via email.
Q - Will I receive Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credit for completing DFMC/DDSC?
A - Yes, we will provide you a CPE Letter once you complete the course requirements. Defense Financial Management and Comptroller School is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be submitted to the National Registry of CPE sponsors through its website: www.learningmarket.org.
Q - What if I have another question not covered by this FAQ?
A - Please contact us using the phone numbers at the top of this page.
Defense Financial Management Course - 3 Week Resident Portion
|3 - 21 Nov 2014||
DFMC (Resident Portion)
Maxwell AFB, AL
|26 Jan - 12 Feb 2015||
DFMC (Resident Portion)
Maxwell AFB, AL
|28 Apr - 15 May 2015||
DFMC (Resident Portion)
Maxwell AFB, AL
|3 - 20 Aug 2015||
DFMC (Resident Portion)
Maxwell AFB, AL
Defense Decision Support Course - 4 Day
|7 - 10 Oct 2014||
Fort Hood, TX
|9 - 12 Dec 2014||
Maxwell AFB, AL
|3 - 6 Mar 2015||
Beale AFB, CA
|10 - 13 Mar 2015||
Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, HI
|7 - 10 Apr 2015||
|2 - 5 Jun 2015||
|7 - 10 Jul 2015||
Andrews AFB, MD
|24 - 27 Aug 2015||
Joint Base Langley-Eustis, VA
Maxwell Blvd Gate: Open 24/7
Maxwell Visitor Center: 0730-1630
Day Street Gate: Check near the bottom of the Maxwell AFB Home Page
Kelly Street Gate: Check near the bottom of the Maxwell AFB Home Page
Congressman Dickinson Drive Gate: Open 24/7
Dalraida Gate: Check near the bottom of the Maxwell AFB Home Page
Last Updated: 12 Mar 2015