According to DoDI 5040.02, Enclosure 8, "organizational elements or functions within organizations whose principal responsibility is to produce VI products and/or provide VI services (regardless of functional alignment) shall be managed by a designated VI manager."
As a visual information (VI) manager, you are responsible for managing, procuring and maintaining the resources necessary to accomplish the VI mission. To perform your duties effectively, you must thoroughly understand the unit mission and goals, your personnel and equipment authorizations and how you support the unit mission. How well you can translate your understanding of this information will enable you to realistically plan for and execute current and future year budget requests, spend plans and unfunded requirement justifications.
The DoD works on a fiscal year (FY) cycle from 1 October to 30 September. This means you will generally need to prepare and submit your budget and requests for review and approval three to six months before the start of the next FY. Your budget request should include everything you will need to execute the VI mission with the organization in support of the commander's intent. Resources must be justified based on authorizations and mission impact. Money is normally allocated quarterly, so the quarterly spend plans you develop must illustrate where the money will go and when. It's important to plan and execute your budget in a way that prevents any deficiencies or stoppages that can degrade the mission as much as possible.
To prepare your annual budget request:
- Determine your authorizations for personnel and equipment
- Consider previous-year budget(s) as possible templates
- Consider equipment lifecycle management
- Include a list of items and services that are needed to keep your office operational and avoid a negative impact on the mission
- Ensure your proposal is the most economical approach to meet the mission requirements
- To justify funding for new capabilities and authorizations, or when adjusting funding levels for existing budget items, you must describe the impact to the mission if funding is withheld or reduced
Explore the types of expenses to help you build and prioritize your annual budget request.
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Important VI Budget Categories
Know Your Personnel
In the DoD environment, it's critical to track who's coming, who's leaving and any vacant positions. These variables impact training and equipment expenses, as well as how much of the mission your team can reasonably support. Check with the unit manning document to know how many people and what positions are actually allocated to your unit, and compare this to your unit personnel report. This document should at least tell you who is currently in your unit, their rank, grade, position and when they are projected to leave once that information is known. Understanding what you're authorized versus what you actually have will help you identify and prepare for when your shop is operating at a personnel deficiency, and take the necessary actions to arrange for replacement personnel and fill vacant positions.
Unfunded Requirement Justification
It's critical for you to track inadequate funding and the associated risks. If an organization doesn't use all of its allocated funds by a certain date (normally, the middle of the fourth quarter), the money may be taken back. This money, sometimes referred to as fall out money, is typically placed in a pot that units/organizations compete for to resource otherwise unfunded requirements.
An unfunded requirement (UFR) justification is a request you submit to compete for the fall out money within your organization and/or your service-level program. UFRs are also an option to procure resources outside those submitted with your allocated annual budget. UFRs are racked and stacked on a need and justification basis. It's essential that you become highly proficient at writing and justifying UFRs you're often competing for resources among others in your command, so your UFR justification must clearly articulate how your request is directly connected to your unit mission.
You cannot purchase training that occurs in the next FY with funds from a current FY. UFRs are often written towards the end of the FY, so by then it's likely that your UFRs will be for equipment instead of training.