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Defense Comptrollership Program (MBA/EMPA)

Defense Comptrollership Program Students


The program of study provides future comptrollers/resource managers with the conceptual perspective, practical and analytical tools, and management skills required in the increasingly complex, volatile, uncertain, and ambiguous resource management environment.

Application process

All DCP selected students should download the Syracuse University application for SU enrollment as a Word document or PDF file.

The Defense Comptrollership Program (DCP) represents a unique cooperative endeavor between Syracuse University and the Department of Defense.

The passage of Public Law 216, as an amendment to the National Security Act of 1947, required that "comptrollers" serve throughout the Department of Defense (DoD). The basis for using comptrollers to institutionalize a "business approach" to DoD management resulted from a congressional review of the "unconscionable wastes of money" during World War II. The Department of the Army was faced with defining the functions and responsibilities of comptrollers, plus determining the attributes, knowledge, and skills necessary for those individuals who would subsequently serve as Army comptrollers. When the Army Comptrollership School was established at Syracuse University in 1952, an initial phase of the Army's implementation of Public Law 216 requirements had begun.

With an established reputation for providing quality education programs for both business and government groups, SU developed a unique graduate education program to meet the Army's comptrollership needs. The curriculum for the initial classes of the Army Comptrollership Program focused on developing the students' knowledge of both industrial and military management techniques. Emphasis was placed on the components of comptrollership as they supported the effective and economic allocation in the utilization of resources. The foundations of both business and public administration were provided in an academic environment, without undue regard to contemporary Army policy or influence.

HQDA Assistant Secretary of the Army (Financial Management and Comptroller) and SU's Whitman School of Management and Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs have developed a joint degree program to replace the current Army Comptrollership's Master of Business Administration Program. The goals of the new program are to provide students with the essential tools of private and public sector business practices and the ability to analyze and develop public policy. With the DoD efforts to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of its business practices and processes, both skill sets are considered essential. It will provide the essential educational skills for financial managers to assist the DOD's leadership in making the hard resource decisions to transition Defense to a more efficient and effective organization.

The new curriculum is a 60 credit hour program that the students complete in 14 months. Graduates are awarded a Master of Business (MBA) degree and an Executive Master of Public Administration (EMPA) degree. Students take 42 credits at the Whitman School and 18 credits at the Maxwell School. The program has also been expanded in Joint curriculum and the number of other Service/Defense Agency personnel attending. The name was changed from the Army Comptrollership Program (ACP) to the Defense Comptrollership Program (DCP) starting with the class of 2006

The Whitman School of Management's MBA program consists of the following courses: Economics, Data Analysis, Management Information Systems, Financial Accounting, Marketing Management, Supply Chain/ Project Management, Operations Management, Activity Based Costing/Management Accounting, Business Strategy and Human Capital Management, Government Contracting, Entrepreneurship, and Defense Comptrollership. The Maxwell School's EMPA program consists of the following courses: Managerial Leadership, Dispute Resolution for Public Managers, Policy Analysis, Public Administration & Law, an elective, and a master's project.

In addition to the academic program, all students will receive training and take and pass the Certified Defense Financial Manager examination. Students will also be required to participate in 24 hours of community service.

The Honorable Sandra Pack, Assistant Secretary of the Army (Financial Management and Comptroller), approved the new Program on January 28, 2002 and the new curriculum began in June 2002. The first class taking the new curriculum graduated in August 2003. DCP classes that have graduated from the new program have had an average grade point average of 3.71.

Over 1,600 graduates of the Defense Comptrollership Program have provided meaningful contributions in demanding management positions. Many of the graduates have reached the pinnacle of their profession, having served in the most senior comptroller positions in the Army, defense finance, accounting service, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Additionally, a wide range of successful contributions have been made subsequently by DCP graduates in other fields, including federal, state and local governments, academic institutions, and the business sector.

There are approximately 25 to 30 participants in each DCP class. Active and Reserve military officers make up half to two-thirds of the class, and the others are civilian members of the comptroller profession from the Army, Defense Agencies, and other Services.

The Army selects officer students for attendance at SU under procedures specifically established to meet graduate school education requirements. The number of officers sent to SU for each class is based on validated requirements for comptroller-related MBAs, officer availability, and individual officer qualifications.

The officer students normally are in the grade of major and are centrally administered through permanent change of station procedures. Upon completion of the program, the officer graduates are normally assigned to appropriate comptroller or resource management positions in Army, Joint, or DoD organizations throughout the world.

The officer program graduates are required to serve a three-year utilization tour in resource management unless deferred because of command or military schooling assignments. The lasting benefits of the program are premised on the conviction that a working knowledge of resource management is one of the basic skills required of a successful officer in all military assignments.

Information concerning applications for military officers to participate in advanced civil schooling in the Defense Comptrollership Program are available from the Comptroller assignments officer in the U.S. Army Human Resources Command; or from the Office of the Chief, Army Reserve; the Office of the Director, Army National Guard; and other Service Assistant Secretaries of Financial Management.

The Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Financial Management and Comptroller) is the proponent for the requirements and procedures related to the nomination selection, attendance, and subsequent utilization of the Army civilian participants in the Defense Comptrollership Program. A single board selects these Army civilian students for both the long-term training opportunities of the DCP and their post-training operational assignments.

Nominations are to identify those individuals who have performed in an outstanding manner within the resource management field and who have demonstrated the highest potential for advancement to multidisciplinary positions. Especially encouraged are nominations of employees in under-represented groups within the resource management career community. The target population is GS-11 through GS-14.

Similarly, the Assistant Secretaries for Financial Management of the other military departments and the director of Defense Finance and Accounting Service, utilize a selection process to sponsor highly qualified individuals for attendance in the Defense Comptrollership Program.

There are four mandatory indices for consideration in the acceptance process for the Syracuse DCP Program by the University. These are: approval of the Department of the Army or defense agency/other Services as described above; the individual's undergraduate academic record; the Graduate Management Admission Test score (500 or greater) or the Graduate Record Examination with a score quivalent to a GMAT score 500 or greater; and letters of recommendation. The Assistant Dean reviews all applications and the Whitman associate dean for MBA & MS programs makes the final admission decision.

For applicants without an academic background in mathematics (advanced algebra and calculus), statistics, or accounting, it is strongly recommended they attend undergraduate courses in these subjects prior to application/attendance.

Eligibility/Application Requirement:

Comptroller Proponency Office OASA (FM&C)
ASA(FM&C) Web site

Concerning the Defense Comptrollership Program, Syracuse University, and the Syracuse area should be referred to:

Defense Programs
Whitman School of Management
Syracuse University
(315) 443-2898
E-mail: Wendy Frye,