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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Commentary: Students join Defense Intelligence Agency team

The Defense Intelligence Agency plays a critical role in supporting all those who advance America’s response to global threats, from the war fighter to the policymaker. To do our best work, we need to maintain operations tempo in the field while developing enduring capabilities to sustain our strength into the future. The same is true for DIA’s financial management efforts, and my office is taking steps to develop and maintain high levels of expertise and agility.

We have been working to bring DIA up to speed on many initiatives championed previously by the major agencies covered by the Chief Financial Officers Act. Along with other members of the intelligence community, we are addressing requirements of the Government Performance and Results Act, the president’s management agenda and other management reforms led by the Office of Management and Budget. We are working closely with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and other oversight organizations to leverage existing federal expertise.

My office is focusing on current and future challenges for financial management at DIA and for the federal community as a whole. Faced with increasing emphasis on managing for results, enhanced financial reporting capacity and the need for professional succession planning, we determined that outreach to the next generation of experts is a top priority. We pursued a partnership with DIA’s Directorate of Human Capital to join our best thinking on recruitment and retention with my own sense of my office’s future work-force needs, based on our internal assessment of core competencies. We created a co-op program as an ideal source for tomorrow’s DIA financial work force.

The benefits to my office and to DIA are substantial. We are recruiting some of the nation’s most competitive college students and giving them the kind of experience that can lead to productive careers in DIA, in the greater Defense community, or in the federal resource management arena overall. The program affords management an unparalleled opportunity to assess the potential of promising future employees. It opens doors in all components of my organization to new ideas. Most important, it supports expeditious recruiting of entry-level staff to assure continuity of knowledge and expertise through thoughtful succession planning. This can have a powerful effect on DIA’s ability to deliver on goals: supporting our war fighters on all fronts, by managing the resources that support their efforts with maximum efficiency and effectiveness.

- Michele O. Platt, chief financial executive of the Defense Intelligence Agency

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