Air Force named executive agent for Katrina-related funds

WASHINGTON -- In a recent memorandum, defense officials named the Air Force as the executive agent for Hurricane Katrina funding.

As the executive agent, Air Force officials will ensure services within the Department of Defense are reimbursed for expenses incurred while providing Hurricane Katrina relief support, said John Vonglis, acting assistant secretary of the Air Force for financial management and comptroller.

"It is financial management oversight for the reimbursable phase of Katrina," Mr. Vonglis said. "When we do work as a department for the benefit of the victims of Katrina, we have to get reimbursed for it. (We) would then have to seek out those funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency or the Department of Homeland Security, or whoever is going to provide those funds.

"When FEMA tasks a DOD organization to perform a mission, reimbursable agreements need to put in place, costs tracked and FEMA must be billed," Mr. Vonglis added. "As executive agent we are ensuring those processes are in place and sound financial practices are followed.

"We are mostly trying to act as a clearing house for the departments that go through one focal point, and that focal point is the Air Force," Mr. Vonglis said.

It is expected that the Air Force, as executive agent, will recoup as much as $1.6 billion back into the DOD.

The fact that the Air Force was chosen to act as executive agent for that funding is a positive reflection of the service and the quality of the work it can provide, Mr. Vonglis said.

"I think it is just another display of what the Air Force can do and its capabilities," he said. "It is reflective of our superb skill in financial management, our people skills, our processes and our systems."