KADENA AIR BASE, Japan --
Money makes the world go-round and operations at the 353rd Special Operations Group (SOG) would not be possible without the financial management team paying the bills.
“From equipment and training to multilateral exercises and real-world contingencies, nothing happens without money,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Brandy Jayne, 353rd SOG comptroller. “The hard work my finance team does here truly enables our operators to go out and perform the mission.”
Unlike most military finance offices that take care of financial matters for the entire base, the 353rd SOG has embedded financial managers that deal solely with special operations forces (SOF) appropriated funding.
“We fall under a different command here at Kadena that requires a better understanding of SOF funding and what it can be used for,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Michael Duchesne Jr., 353rd SOG financial analysis section chief. “The ethical and congressional left and right limits are different than the rest of the Air Force, so we have the responsibility of advising commanders on the propriety of funds. Not only are we educating our customers on those boundaries, but also proactively finding options to execute unit requirements.”
The finance team attends specialized schools to train themselves on all the funding appropriations and authorities available to SOF.
“Most finance offices only see Air Force Operations and Maintenance (O&M) dollars and don’t realize there are all these different appropriations and authorities out there,” said Duchesne. “Here at the SOG we have such a unique mission that we have to think past what we know and find funding avenues outside the traditional O&M spectrum.”
September 30th marks the end of the fiscal year and busiest time the for financial team working diligently on closing out books, checking numbers in the accounting system and executing available dollars toward unit requirements.
“Our biggest success has been our end of year,” said Duchesne. “We were able to execute every single dollar that Special Operations Command sent down to us due to the constant communication with resource advisors, commanders and leadership. With our requirements identified early, we were able to take full advantage of the funding opportunities that come with end of year close out.”
As the only Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) finance office in the Pacific, the team covers down on SOF budget operations for 52% of the globe.
“By being embedded within the SOG, we understand the nature of our mission and maintain a unique partnership with our customers,” said Jayne. “We are able to perform above and beyond because we engage with our customers every day and work hand-in-hand with leadership. We take great pride knowing our contribution to the mission of delivering specialized aviation and special tactics skillsets within the Pacific.”