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U.S. Marines and Department of Defense Civilians, attend the Defense Agencies Initiative training course on Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., Sept. 22, 2021. The DAI training course aims to simplify financial management across the DOD, to deliver more auditable records and improve integration through standard data structures and business practices.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Brian Stippey

Following the Money Just Became Easier

2 Nov 2021 | Lance Cpl. Brian Stippey Defense Media Activity

The Marine Corps takes immense pride in its traditions, to include being first to face and defeat the adversary. To improve upon a reputation for succeeding at just that, the Marine Corps will be the first U.S. military service to transition to the Defense Agencies Initiative.

DAI is a single business mission system that combines budget reporting tools, source document repositories and procurement systems to increase the efficiency of the Department of Defense’s acquisition of military equipment and supplies.

On October 1st, the Corps became the first service to implement this new technology that replaces its 29-year-old standard accounting, budgeting and reporting system. The Marine Corps is the smallest and most expeditionary branch and having this new capability, enables the Corps to take DAI to any clime and place.

“Due to the ability to be late on accounting transactions, SABRS was not the ideal tool for auditability purposes,” said U.S. Marine Corps Master Sgt. Anthony Welch, Comptroller Chief, Training and Education Command. “The new system [DAI] is supposed to be a one-stop-shop for the majority of the procurement methods.”

“The new system is supposed to be a one-stop-shop for the majority of the procurement methods.” Master Sgt. Anthony Welch, Comptroller Chief, Training and Education Command

DAI allows source documentation to be uploaded and maintained for a required 10-year period, allowing the system to be audited at any time. The ability to do this allows an audit team to request specific information from a command and find that information in one centralized location. The accessibility of this information adds assurance that financial records are accurate and free from error.

Implementing a new system presents inherent challenges and requires appropriate training to transition as smoothly as possible. With that in mind, the Corps has developed an extensive training plan in multiple areas to support all commands with in-person training, job aid development, and other how-to guides. Resources can be found at or on the USMC DAI Transition Mobile App that is scheduled to be published the first week of November.

“This transition [has] generated a steep learning curve with the utilization of one system instead of multiple systems,” said Welch. But the good news is, “our funds managers and financial analysts are receiving training in DAI, in doing so they are gaining a point of reference to the new system.”

The training program provides the Corps’ end-users with initial and ongoing training and performance requirements for transition into the DAI system for full financials.

“The Marine Corps’ transition to DAI will provide a proof of concept. We received the smallest budget, yet we have as much complexity of all our sister services, and also our expeditionary capabilities,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4, Roxan McNamee, Execution Analysis Branch Head, Department of Programs and Resources, Headquarters Marine Corps.

The success of the Marine Corps’ transition to DAI paves the way for other military services to follow suit, which will be a DOD requirement by 2025.