Alexandria, Va., May 8, 2024 – The Society of Defense Financial Management (SDFM) is pleased to announce an extension and update to the charter of its Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution (PPBE) Reform Task Force. The Task Force will continue its work to promote awareness and engage in public discourse on PPBE reform, now shifting its focus to support the implementation of the recommendations presented by the Legislative Commission on PPBE Reform (PPBE Commission). 

Following the release of the PPBE Commission’s final report in March 2024, the Task Force will concentrate its efforts on reviewing and assessing the report and providing analysis of the recommendations based on surveys, interviews, and focus groups of SDFM members and the defense financial management community. Additionally, the Task Force will host and participate in public forums and discussions on PPBE reform, providing education and updates to SDFM members and the defense financial management community on the progress of PPBE reform and implementation of the PPBE Commission’s recommendations. 

Key responsibilities of the Task Force include: 

  • Interfacing with executive and legislative branch agencies and committees to gain insights into the progress of PPBE reform and the implementation of the PPBE Commission’s recommendations. 
  • Offering consultation to Department of Defense stakeholders on the implementation of the PPBE Commission’s recommendations. 
  • Advocating for meaningful PPBE reform as the voice of the SDFM membership and defense financial management community. 

The Task Force, now extended until December 31, 2025, will consist of members with government, private sector, and academic backgrounds, ensuring a comprehensive balance of perspectives and expertise related to financial management. This combination of new and existing members will enable the Task Force to bring fresh ideas and continuity to the reform process. 

The Task Force will be co-chaired by the Honorable Thomas Harker and Mr. George E. Kovatch.  HON Harker has served in the Departments of Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs, Housing and Urban Development, and Department of Defense. He was nominated and served as the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Financial Management & Comptroller), Acting Under Secretary of Defense Comptroller/CFO, and Acting Secretary of the Navy. Mr. Kovatch has over 30 years of federal experience, including service as Deputy Comptroller (Budget & Appropriations Affairs) for the Department of Defense and Deputy Chief Management Officer/Deputy Under Secretary of the Navy (Management) for the Department of the Navy. He also served as a member of the Senior Executive Service at the Department of Homeland Security and on the Senate Appropriations Committee. 

The release of the PPBE Commission’s final report marks a significant milestone in the ongoing effort to fundamentally change the PPBE process.  “We are encouraged by the PPBE Reform Commission’s bold recommendations for comprehensive reform,” said HON Harker, “The final report draws on a set of fundamental principles that balance control, transparency, and agility to deliver warfighting capability and maintain a competitive edge against adversaries.”  

Mr. Kovatch added, “We were very pleased to see that the final report recommendations align with the Task Force’s guiding principles, gathered from focus groups and surveys of SDFM members and the defense financial management community.  Those guiding principles include:  

  • Putting America’s national security resourcing on a wartime footing 
  • Honoring the preeminence of the U.S. Constitution and the separation of powers therein 
  • Enhancing trust through transparency and accountability 
  • Increasing efficiency and reducing complexity 
  • Establishing clear measures of effectiveness against the National Security Strategy 
  • Enhancing flexibility and innovation in execution 
  • Incentivizing risk-informed decision-making 

The release of the final report represents a pivotal moment in the evolution of defense financial management practices and sets the stage for meaningful reform and transformation within the DoD and its interactions with Congress. The hard part is ahead of us as implementation will be key to reaping the benefits of these recommendations.” 

SDFM CEO, Rich Brady, expressed confidence in the Task Force’s ability to guide and support the implementation of the PPBE Commission’s recommendations, “The extension and update to the PPBE Task Force charter reinforce SDFM’s commitment to playing a key role in advancing PPBE reform. We are grateful for the contributions the Task Force made over the last two years under the leadership of Michael Conlin, and we look forward to the Task Force providing valuable insights and support for stakeholders throughout the reform process under the leadership of Tom Harker and George Kovatch. These efforts will ensure that the needs of the Department of Defense, the Executive Branch, the Legislative Branch, and industry are met to produce military capability for the 21st century.” 

About SDFM: 

The Society of Defense Financial Management (SDFM) is a non-profit educational and professional organization for individuals in the field of defense financial management, including comptrollership, accounting, auditing, budgeting, financial systems, and related disciplines. SDFM provides professional development opportunities, certification programs, and networking events to enhance the knowledge and skills of its members and promote excellence in defense financial management. 


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