NDU financial management course aims to build leaders

A financial management specialization course at the National Defense Universtiy’s iCollege draws students from across the federal financial management community. But it’s not geared toward skills training as much as it is about instilling the tenets of leadership for future leaders in the federal government’s financial fields.

Richard Aguilera is the Defense Department Comptroller Chair at the CFO Academy at NDU’s iCollege. He joined Francis Rose for an interview on Pentagon Solutions, a deep-dive look into defense issues.

The CFO Academy is a joint project of DoD’s comptroller, the CFO Council led by the Office of Management and Budget and the iCollege, Aguilera said.

“That joint project is essentially an attempt, for the first time, to bring leadership education throughout the federal government, for all federal financial managers in the financial management community,” he said. “So, it’s not skills training — it’s more leadership training geared towards more senior folks in the financial management community in the Defense Department and throughout the federal government.”


Too often, employees rise through the ranks of the financial management community without an effort to develop true leadership skills, Aguilera said.

“We tend to look at their skills base, their analytical skills, for example,” he said. “We tend to promote those folks that are good analysts … without looking at what kinds of leadership deficits they might have, what kinds of leadership opportunities they might be looking for. And the Chief Financial Officer Academy is an opportunity for them to come and to meet with and learn from senior folks who’ve kind of walked a mile in their shoes and had some of the experiences that they’ve had and to learn the leadership lessons and get exposed to some of the leadership events that they might see in their career.”