- By Sean Lyngaas
- Nov 30, 2014
As a budget officer in the Army's Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems, Christina Manol has seen demand for her skillset soar in the past few years as budget dollars have dwindled.
"You really have to validate your requirements and make sure that what you're asking for is critical because the resources are so low…that you really have to fight for what is there," she said. "Not only that, but you have to dig deep into saying, 'OK, if I don't get this money, what happens and when?'"
Given the uncertain fiscal environment, it is hard to overstate the important role of a budget analyst. Equipped with a talent for math and an accounting degree from George Mason University, Manol relishes the responsibility.
"Previously in my career, I was the one actually crunching the numbers," she said. "Now, as a budget officer, I've moved more to an analytical role to make sure that what we're saying makes sense [and ask] is there a better way that we can spend the money?"
PEO EIS manages more than 30 programs worth a total of about $1 billion, all aimed at outfitting soldiers with the latest IT. The stakes are high, and Manol said dealing with the acquisition life cycle complicates the job. Programs that can't demonstrate quick output risk being terminated. This year, for example, Manol helped the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology avoid having its money re-appropriated by making sure its programs were phased appropriately.
Where there was once less pressure to prioritize programs, she said, now "we have to balance everything out to make sure that all of…our critical mission capabilities to support the warfighter are supported."
Sean Lyngaas is an FCW staff writer covering defense, cybersecurity and intelligence issues. Prior to joining FCW, he was a reporter and editor at Smart Grid Today, where he covered everything from cyber vulnerabilities in the U.S. electric grid to the national energy policies of Britain and Mexico. His reporting on a range of global issues has appeared in publications such as The Atlantic, The Economist, The Washington Diplomat and The Washington Post.
Lyngaas is an active member of the National Press Club, where he served as chairman of the Young Members Committee. He earned his M.A. in international affairs from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and his B.A. in public policy from Duke University.
Click here for previous articles by Lyngaas, or connect with him on Twitter: @snlyngaas.