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Finance Airman develops innovative program

The Commander’s Dashboard

Staff Sgt. Zachary Christman, 11th Comptroller Squadron budget analyst, displays a program he created called the Commander’s Dashboard on Joint Base Andrews, Md., May 21, 2018. The program will allow commanders and resource advisors to have near- instant access to status of funds, government travel card delinquencies and use-or-lose leave hours for service members. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Michael S. Murphy)

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. --

When Defense Secretary James N. Mattis says that innovation is a top priority, apparently the troops are listening.

“It’s an equal obligation for me not just to maintain the current readiness, but to make certain that the secretary of defense after next has the same advantages … the same competitive edge that I enjoyed growing up in this country,” Mattis told traveling reporters in August 2017. “So, I rate [DoD’s innovation initiative] as a top-level priority.”

 

In that spirit, Staff Sgt. Zachary Christman, 11th Comptroller Squadron budget analyst, developed a program that he believes will change how commanders and resource advisors communicate with one another.

 

The program, called the Commander’s Dashboard, launched May 30. It gives statistics in simple spreadsheets and charts forcommanders to see their status funds, government travel card delinquencies and use-or-lose leave days for service members.

Budget analyst and innovator
Staff Sgt. Zachary Christman, 11th Comptroller Squadron budget analyst, poses for a photo on Joint Base Andrews, Md., May 21, 2018. He created a program called the Commander’s Dashboard which will allow commanders and resource advisors to have near- instant access to status of funds, government travel card delinquencies and use-or-lose leave hours for service members. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Michael S. Murphy)
Budget analyst and innovator
Finance Airman develops innovative program
Staff Sgt. Zachary Christman, 11th Comptroller Squadron budget analyst, poses for a photo on Joint Base Andrews, Md., May 21, 2018. He created a program called the Commander’s Dashboard which will allow commanders and resource advisors to have near- instant access to status of funds, government travel card delinquencies and use-or-lose leave hours for service members. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Michael S. Murphy)
Photo By: Airman Michael S. Murphy
VIRIN: 180521-F-SP573-1012

 

“It takes a bunch of raw data from our accounting systems and rolls it into something that is actually useful,” Christman said.

 

He noticed in his first few months in the budget section that commanders and resource advisors weren’t communicating as effectively as they could be. To help resolve the issue, he planned a course of action with the help of 11th Comptroller Squadron Commander Maj. Benjamin Jans.

 

Christman started with a program that Jans, once an enlisted Airman himself, previously worked on as a guide for what his should look like.

Jans said the Commander’s Dashboard quickly became a comprehensive tool for commanders with major benefits.

 

“The status of funds is good for the mission, because if you know how much money you have left then you can make decisions as a commander to be able to help perform your mission,” Jans added. “We are trying to save everyone a bit of time with pulling this data.”

 

Jans said the previous method for each resource advisor- 28 total for the 11th CPTS- meant a couple of Airmen spending a couple of hours aggregating data to display status of funds or GTC delinquencies. Now, with the Commander’s Dashboard, those reports will be available nearly instantaneously, enabling immediate decisions.

 

Christman is hopeful that other bases will be able to take advantage of the Commander’s Dashboard.

 

“If successful at JBA, I hope that I can help other bases across the Air Force by implementing this tool, providing commanders better oversight of their budgets,” he added.