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End of year closeout: The buck doesn’t stop here

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Col. Doug Schiess, 21st Space Wing commander, helps the 21st Comptroller Squadron complete their end-of-year closeout at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., Sept. 30, 2016. As the clock counted down to midnight, 21st CPTS’ main duties were to fully execute congressional appropriated funds to make sure Peterson AFB effectively used taxpayer dollars, and the budgets were up-to-date and balanced. (Courtesy Photo)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Col. Doug Schiess, 21st Space Wing commander, visits the 21st Comptroller Squadron during their end-of-year closeout at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., Sept. 30, 2016. As the clock counted down to midnight, 21st CPTS’ main duties were to fully execute congressional appropriated funds to make sure Peterson AFB effectively used taxpayer dollars, and the budgets were up-to-date and balanced. (Courtesy Photo)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Col. Doug Schiess, 21st Space Wing commander, and the 21st Comptroller Squadron diligently worked extra hours to close out the fiscal year budget at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., Sept. 30, 2016. The wing is estimated to manage a $2 billion budget with all the tenant units included. (Courtesy Photo)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Col. Doug Schiess, 21st Space Wing commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Mark Bronson, 21st Space Wing command chief, visit the 21st Comptroller Squadron as they diligently worked extra hours to close out the fiscal year budget at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., Sept. 30, 2016. The wing is estimated to manage a $2 billion budget with all the tenant units included. (Courtesy Photo)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Members of the 21st Comptroller Squadron diligently worked extra hours to close out the fiscal year budget at Peterson Air Force Base on Sept. 30.

As the clock counted down to midnight, 21st CPTS’ main duties were to fully execute congressional appropriated funds to make sure Peterson AFB effectively used taxpayer dollars, and the budgets were up-to-date and balanced.

Simple as that goal may seem to those unfamiliar with the finance world, the comptroller squadron here is responsible for tracking and maintaining budgets for the Air Force’s most geographically-dispersed wing, and the fifth largest wing in the Air Force by number of units.

“We estimate the 21st Space Wing to be at a $2 billion budget with all the tenant units,” said Senior Airman Karl Ahner, 21st CPTS financial budget analyst. “Those units being North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command, Air Force Space Command, Space and Missile Systems Center and Air Force Life Cycle Management Cente,r along with our wing-wide squadrons and groups. There are a lot of moving parts.”

With a budget so large, it’s all hands on deck when it comes to the end-of-year closeout, regardless of rank.

“We have nine military members and the rest are civilian,” said Tech. Sgt. Anthony Carrion, 21st CPTS flight chief. “Everybody’s respective organization has millions of dollars worth of a budget. Our lowest ranking individual is a senior airman and they handle hundreds of millions of dollars, so there is no rank issue. It’s all about making sure we are all trained.”

The importance of the CPTS team may be overlooked if service members have no issues with their pay. However, the CPTS team provides much more than the bi-monthly bank deposit to Team Pete members’ accounts.

“We need to be prepared to execute the funding immediately to keep the mission going,” said Carrie Granzella, 21st CPTS financial budget analyst. “If we don’t hit a document to certify the funds, then that is the quickest way to stop the mission.”

To ensure that does not happen, the 21st CPTS holds a vital role in keeping the proverbial heart of the 21st SW beating, and keeps their focus on the future.

“Although we have come to the end of the closeout for the fiscal year, we already started laying the groundwork for next year,” said Mark Silver, 21st CPTS financial budget analyst. “It is a continuous cycle.”

October is the beginning of the new fiscal year. Ahner said the 21st CPTS has to be prepared to set-up and execute immediately going forward because if they are not, the 21st SW may not have the resources needed to complete the mission moving into the next year.

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