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Histories for Air Force Accounting & Finance Center

U. S. Air Force Accounting & Finance Center
Mission The U.S. Air Force Accounting and Finance Center was located at Lowry Air Force Base, Denver, Colo., and was the focal point of Air Force financial operations worldwide. The Mission was fourfold: to provide efficient centralized pay service to all Air Force military members--active duty, retired, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve; to account for all money appropriated to the Air Force by Congress and report on the use of those funds to Congress and government financial managers; to provide technical assistance and guidance to the approximately 10,000-person, 150-office worldwide accounting and finance network; and toperform the billing, collecting, and accounting for the Department of Defense's foreign military sales. History The center was opened in 1951 at 3800 York Street, Denver, Colo., four years after the U. S. Air Force became a separate branch of teh Armed Forces. Until 1951, all Air Force financial activities were handled at the U.S. Army Finance Center, S. Louis, Mo. This new operation, call eht Air Force Finance Center, was established as a separate operating agency to supervise operations of the fiscal network and perform a number of additional duties which could best be handled at a central point. In 1956, the accounting function was transferred from Heqdquarters, U.S. Air Force to the center and, subsequently, it was renamed the U.S. Air Force Accounting and Finance Cener. In 1968, certain functions of the comptroller of the Air Force were transferred along with the Office of the Assistant Comptroller of the Air Force for Accounting and Finance to the Air Force Accounting and Finance Center. In a dual position, the center commander also is the assistant comptroller of accounting and finance for the Air Force. In Fall of 1974, conversion to the Joint Uniform Miliary Pay was completed. Under this system, all active-duty pay was centralized and computerized at the Air Force Accounting and Finance Center. In September 1976, the center moved into a new building on Lowry Air Force Base. The building was name "The Gilchrist Building" in honor of the late Maj. Ge. John R. Gilchrist, first commander of the Air Force Center. In Novermber 1976, the Department of Defense started the Security Assistance Accounting Center--a centralized foreign military sales accunting and billing organization--at the center. The center keeps defense activities and Congress advised on teh status of all Armed Forces materiel being sold to friendly foreign governments. Operations Pay and Allotments. The center paid all active-duty Air Force personnel worldwide. It also handled pay allotment account for these members. Retired members of the Air Force received their pay from the center, and also could authorize allotments. In January 1981 there were alomsot 500,000 retiree and annuitant accounts. All 145,000 members of the Air Force national Guard and Air Force Reserve also were paid by the center. Policy and Systems Development. Center personnel were responsible for developing financial managment systems and accounting policy need to implement legislative requirements and Air Force concepts and policies. The center also provided technical guidance for the oepration of the Air Force accounting and finnace network as wel as designing and testing the financial systems that shaped and guided the network of about 150 locations worldwide. Accounting. The Air Force Accounting and Finance Center accounted for all money appropriated to the Air Force by Congress. Not only was the center the centralized "accounting house" for all Air Force dollars but also for prparing and disseminating timely reports to the fund managers of the Air Force, Department of Defense, Department of Treasury, and other federal agencies. Foreign Military Sales. The Security Assistance Accoutning Center runs a Department fo Defense-wide automated system to keep the Department of Defense and Congress advised of the status of defense articles and services being sold to friendly foreign governments. Each year about three million to four million delivery transactions and progress payments were summarized by the Security Assistance Accounting Center into bills for foreign governments amounting to in excess of $10 billion. In 1981 it had about $116 billion in open military orders. Air Force Accounting and Finance Center operated a currency clearing house in Brussels, Belgium, which provided currency exchanges between the North Atlantic Treaty Organization nations involved in the F-16 aircraft coproduciton effort in Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway. Managment Initiatives Through the years, the Air Force Accounting and Finance Center was instrumental in developing new financial managment systems that gained recognition in both the public and private sectors. SURE-PAY was an example. The SIURE-PAY system used and electrnic funds transfer for direct payroll deposit. Under this program, payment data for active-duty, retire and rserve personnel was sent to banks and other financial organizations across the country through the Federal Reserve System. Only a computer tape and one U.s. Treasury check were used. SURE-PAY eliminated individual pay checks, listings, envelopes and postage, saved millions of dollars in taxpayers' money and beter served the Air Force family. Remost inquiry of the center's pay data became a possibility for accounting and finance offices worlwide using computer terminals connected to the central processing unit in Denver. A new aviation fuel accounting system developed by the center permitted faster and more accurate tracking of aviation fuel usage throughout the Air Force, permitting beter visiblity over this high-dollar-value area. A new system was also developed by the center to permit accoutning and finance offices not only to inquire about members' pay accounts, but also to key in transactions directly to the center's computers. This system became operational in 1981, long before the existance of the world wide web, or internet, that we know today. (Source: USAF Fact Sheet 81-41, July 1981)

Posted by Frederick Beisser
Aug 26 2003 04:52:18:000PM

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