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NEWS | April 29, 2021

Employees recognized for audit readiness efforts

By Ms. Danielle E. Weinschenk

A dedicated workforce is earning rave reviews for ensuring Tobyhanna Army Depot (TYAD) is audit ready at all times.

All branches of the military are required to undergo regular audits as part of the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990, which strives to ensure taxpayer dollars are accounted for and are being used properly. Audits are conducted yearly throughout the Department of Defense by several independent public accounting firms, to include KPMG International, who audits Army Working Capital Funds organizations such as TYAD. Meanwhile, the depot’s Internal Review and Audit Compliance (IRAC) office conducts year-round surveillance and preparatory internal audits.   According to IRAC Chief Brian Ross, the team’s mission is key to audit success.

“We are the liaison between TYAD and KPMG, which gives us an understanding of stakeholder needs on both sides. This insight allows us to ensure Team Tobyhanna is prepared for these external audits and is operating in accordance with regulatory guidelines at all times.”

Ross noted that audit readiness is an enterprise-wide effort, with employees at all levels across all directorates making significant contributions. However, he recognized two standout employees who went above and beyond in their roles as part of the audit readiness team.

“Two of our biggest challenges related to audit readiness are parts inventory and real property reconciliation. Charles ‘Chuck’ Mills and Lori McAndrew provide exemplary support for these arduous requirements.”

In his role as a Supply Systems Analyst, Mills is responsible for ensuring accurate inventories are taken of Tobyhanna’s colossal parts repository. The process begins by identifying the parts to be inventoried. Then, he and his team locate the parts and count them either fully or by weight, depending on the type of part. He says counting is only half the battle.

“A lot of my job is research and investigation. There are so many different programs at Tobyhanna that it’s not uncommon to have something not be exactly where you think it is. When that happens, we have to find it,” going on to say that the “detective work” required to account for lost or misplaced inventory was only possible due to the cooperation and dedication of his depot partners.

According to Mills, these inventories are a part of the depot’s normal business processes, but are also subject to KPMG oversight and review. Last year alone, Mills and his team accounted for more than $121,000,000 in parts used to overhaul military equipment.

Accounting for assets is a similar challenge for Lori McAndrew, the depot’s sole real property specialist. She’s responsible for validating the existence of all types of real property – not an easy feat on the depot’s sprawling campus. McAndrew, who works in the U.S. Army Garrison’s Public Works Division, says the position takes her to all corners of the installation to account for a collection of 510 real property assets.

“We have to account for everything – and I mean everything,” she said. “That includes all types of buildings, even the Wastewater Treatment Plant, memorial rocks and things you’d never think of inventorying – like underground utilities.”

McAndrew credits a co-worker’s use of technology for making the identification efforts much easier.

“Trying to manage real property is truly challenging.  I’m so appreciative of Jason Hollister and his efforts to use geographic information systems (GIS),” adding that one example is how GIS technology enables them to utilize mapping to estimate square footage of a building instead of hand-measuring it.

Ross’s team in IRAC is the overall proponent for audit readiness at Tobyhanna. He says former IRAC employee Amy Armstrong played a big role in the endeavor.

“Amy did a great job helping stand up the current audit readiness program. She also was quick to respond to the changing environment, and came up with innovative ways to meet audit requirements despite the COVID pandemic.”

Although Armstrong has recently moved on to a new position with Team Tobyhanna; she remains part of the overall audit readiness program. She says audit readiness is nothing to fear.

“These audits are simply part of the checks-and-balances process. KPMG and IRAC are checking to see if Team Tobyhanna is operating in accordance with our standard operating procedures.”

Armstrong’s impressive support of the effort was recognized by the Deputy Secretary of Defense; however, she was quick to point out that the endeavor was a team effort.

“Many people contributed to our overall success for audit readiness. Team Tobyhanna banded together and did a great job.”

While audit readiness is a regulatory requirement, the intensified efforts at Tobyhanna are directly aligned with the organization’s long-range strategic plan, Toby 2028 – specifically the C5ISR readiness line of effort, which strives to prepare Warfighters around the world for any conflict. An accurate depiction of operational status ensures Team Tobyhanna is ready to meet Warfighter requirements at a moment’s notice.

Tobyhanna Army Depot is a recognized leader in providing world-class logistics support for command, control, communications, computers, cyber, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C5ISR) systems across the Department of Defense. Tobyhanna’s Corporate Philosophy, dedicated work force and electronics expertise ensure the depot is the Joint C5ISR provider of choice for all branches of the Armed Forces and industry partners.

Tobyhanna’s unparalleled capabilities include full-spectrum logistics support for sustainment, overhaul and repair, fabrication and manufacturing, engineering design and development, systems integration, post production software support, technology insertion, modification, foreign military sales and global field support to our joint warfighters.

About 3,700 personnel are employed at Tobyhanna, which is located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. Tobyhanna Army Depot is part of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command. Headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, the command’s mission is to empower the Soldier with winning C5ISR capabilities.