By Sandres Mann, Director, Resource Management Office
The success or failure of an organization, whether it be a private or public sector entity, is based on its ability to appropriately fund its day-to-day operations, pay its employees, and provide budget oversight in support of larger projects.
That includes maintaining critical infrastructure, capital improvements, safety and wellness.
The Fort Meade Resource Management Office is responsible for providing financial support and acting as the primary resource management advisor to the garrison commander.
RMO works with the commander as well as major directorates such as Army Community Service, the Directorate of Public Works and the Directorate of Emergency Services. Our role is to help Team Meade manage money and resources in support of sound, safe infrastructure, outstanding services and a high level of security.
As the end of the fiscal year quickly approaches, the RMO staff is wrapping up final projects and preparing for the new fiscal year that begins in October.
For the last five years, Fort Meade — as well as other federal entities — have begun fiscal year operations under a continuing resolution authority for at least the first quarter.
With that in mind, I’d like to explain what a CRA is, and address some of the impacts the CRA may have on the Fort Meade community.
Operating under a CRA means Congress has not passed a budget appropriation bill to be signed into law by the president of the United States for the next fiscal year. The new appropriation law would give authority to execute approved funds for “must fund” activities and programs such as employee pay, garrison services and utilities, along with any new approved activities and programs.
Under a CRA, “must fund” activities and programs can continue to be executed, but only at the funding level of the previous fiscal year. New activities, programs and projects cannot be initiated under CRA.
Operating under a CRA does allow the garrison to maintain a minimum level of service for infrastructure support to tenant units and customers. The problem is, CRAs can impact implementing the Commander’s Strategic Plan and services.
Because of the CRA fiscal limitations, plans for new activities, programs and projects are usually delayed for at least the first quarter of the fiscal year. This can affect the timeliness and quality of services provided to customers.
CRAs can also cause critical delays of important contracts sometime resulting in additional and unnecessary costs to the garrison.
The CRA does not affect military construction currently taking place across the installation. Military construction is a multi-year congressional appropriation managed by the Army Corps of Engineers.
The CRA does allow limited use of funds for pay, utilities, security, operations and maintenance for basic services such as grounds, roads and buildings maintenance if it isn’t new work.
Because CRAs are issued in the first quarter of the fiscal year, service degradation occurs most during this time. If customers cannot get an immediate response to requests for pothole repair, building maintenance or other such issues, it is because the commander has prioritized the use of funds while operating under a CRA with an emphasis on life, health and safety.
I hope this narrative provides some understanding about the impact of CRAs on garrison operations.