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Maritime Logistics Community News : Summer 2011
28 NAVY SUPPLY NEWSLETTER SUMMER 2011 The International Stabilisation Force (ISF) is deployed to East Timor at the invitation of the Government of Timor-Leste to support the local security sector maintain a stable and secure environment. The ISF is made up of approximately 450 Australian and New Zealand personnel including Headquarters staff, an ANZAC infantry company, Combat Support Services capability and an Aviation (S70A Black hawk) detachment. The FA’s role is to provide financial and corporate governance advice to the Joint Task Force (JTF) Headquarters as well as managing financial aspects of the operation. Broadly, this is divided into two areas: operating the cash imprest and managing the use of HQJOC funds for the acquisition of new capability in theatre. The cash account for an operation is called the imprest. Unlike RAN Ships and establishments, the Army still maintains cash accounts for both operational requirements and pay in advance functions. The use of imprests is almost exclusively for operationally deployed forces, such as JTF 631 in East Timor. The imprest enables the unit to locally procure goods and services without the use of ROMAN or the DPC. For the initial stages of a land-based deployed operation, the requirement for cash to undertake local procurement is considerable. For mature operations where local procurement is relatively safe, such as Operation Astute, cash can be used to obtain material more quickly than through the stores system or under contract. Cash may also be used because either the business does not have a bank account for ROMAN payment, does not accept credit cards, or procurement is not possible through a contractor such as Toll Remote Logistics. The imprest is also maintained to allow soldiers to withdraw local currency for personal use without incurring the monetary and security costs associated with using local banks or ATMs. The imprest is generally made up of the local currency or currencies used: East Timorese currency is a combination of United States notes ($1-$100) and East Timorese coins (1c-50c). Given the average wage in East Timor is less than $10 a day, use of notes above $20 is extremely limited. Service personnel draw their pay in advance through the base Cash Office. The Cash Office also offers a remit service to enable deployed personnel the ability to pay bills or transfer money back to Australia. This service involves personnel depositing money and bill or bank details into the Cash Office. This information is then passed to 8 Personnel Support Company in Brisbane who conduct the payment or bank transfer on behalf of the member. Given the increase over recent years in internet banking, the demand for this service is on the decline. Operation Astute involves the sharing of resources between Australian and New Zealand forces. Services the ADF provides the NZDF require a cost recovery process under the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement between the two countries. While the detail of these agreements are managed by HQJOC, day-to-day billing and validation is conducted between forces in theatre by the FA. The cash office is manned by a Cashier, generally drawn from the Army Pay Corps or RAAF Clerk mustering. However, the only requirement for this position is completion of the Cash Office Operators course, with some experience in pay and administration. As such, the position would be suitable for WTRs with an interest in this area of work. Due to their understanding of ADF pay, WTRs would also be suitable for the deployed Pay Clerk position, which involves the processing of pay in advance, commencing allowances and general pay advice. The Finance cell in Operation Astute consists of the FA, the Cash Officer Operator (PTE) and the Pay Clerk (LACW). In larger Operations this is supplemented by a Cash Office Manager (COM), usually a SGT or WO2 equivalent. In other operations the COM position has been filled by a CPOWTR who has completed the Cash Office Manager course. The FA position on operations is usually filled by members of the Army Pay Corps who have completed both the Staff Officer Finance and Cash Office Management courses. However, due to the exposure to finance and procurement that Supply Officers have (particularly as Finance Officer during their time as an ASO), Supply Officers are suited to this role. A good knowledge of ROMAN reporting functions is also a significant advantage. Operation ASTUTE has several positions for Naval personnel in addition Financial Advice in East Timor From March to October 2011 I filled the J05 - Financial Advisor (FA) position of Operation Astute in support of the International Stabilisation Force in East Timor. BY LEUT CHRIS CLARKE, RAN From left: LEUT Chris Clarke, PTE Tony Wasin and LACW Vicky Stanford.