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Program analyst’s idea improves resource management reporting

2021 AFIMSC Innovation Rodeo finalist Daniel McDermott

One of eight 2021 AFIMSC Innovation Rodeo finalists, Daniel McDermott has an idea that will help keep stakeholders at all levels informed about unusual activity in their resource management accounts and up to date on the latest financial changes. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Jim Martinez)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas – Dan McDermott says his job as a program analyst for the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center’s Resources Directorate requires him to be a storyteller.

“I tell the story of where the portfolio has been in the past, where it is today and where it is headed in the future,” said McDermott, a native of Raleigh, North Carolina. “This includes prioritizing the portfolio to ensure the optimal allocation of constrained resources in the short, mid, and long-term.”

McDermott will have another story to tell as he was selected to be one of eight finalists for the 2021 AFIMSC Innovation Rodeo. We asked McDermott about his idea and what he hopes to accomplish:

Q: What’s your idea for the 2021 AFIMSC Innovation Rodeo? 
A: The Resource Management Unusual Activity Heat Seeker Tool. Just like credit card companies monitor your accounts for unusual activity, my idea is for a tool to monitor resource management accounts for unusual activity. When the tool identifies unusual activity, a notification is generated to give decision-makers awareness along with precious time to react to the changes. It allows me and them to tell a more consistent, timely and accurate story.   

Q: What problem will your idea solve? 
A: The tool addresses the issue of inconsistencies and delays in programming related updates. The tool will help keep stakeholders at all levels on the same page and in the know of the latest financial changes.  

Q: How will your idea help the Air Force deliver installation and mission support capabilities, improve installations or support families in a better way? 
A: In the world of planning and programming, one of the most important things to compete for funding is having an accurate story about where we’ve been, where we are and where we’re headed. This tool allows us to tell a more consistent, timely and accurate story. 

Q: How did you come up with your idea? 
A: During the recent fantasy football season, I’d receive a concise and humorous weekly report of how my team performed (poorly) along with any significant updates in the overall league. The report was auto-generated with the help of artificial intelligence, and I thought it would be super cool if a similar report could be generated on my work portfolio rather than having to hunt and hand jam spreadsheets looking for program updates.  

Q: Why do you think it’s important for the Air Force to consider innovative solutions and ideas for the base of the future? 
A: With the pace of technological and societal change, I’m not sure we really know what the base of the future looks like, so keeping a healthy pipeline of innovative ideas can help put paint on that canvas. 

Q: How does it feel to be selected as a finalist for the 2021 Innovation Rodeo? 
A: Great! It’s nice to see program analysts get attention and recognition for the value they bring to telling a good story. 

Q: What are you hoping to gain from the experience? 
A: Ability to be a better program analyst. Improve the use technology and data management to spend less time on repetitive tasks and more time on value-added analysis. 

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add? 
A: I’d like to give a shout out to the AFIMSC Resources Directorate leadership for encouraging participation in the program!