Facilitating Cohesive Messaging Across the Department of Defense Comptrollers

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Facilitating Cohesive Messaging Across the Department of Defense Comptrollers

Posted on 12.17.22

OUSD(C) had impressive goals for organizational transformation and needed a system to distribute unified messaging

OUSD(C) recently placed a renewed emphasis on fiscal responsibility across DOD to ensure taxpayer resources are managed effectively and that the U.S. military has the resources it needs to accomplish its mission. The office must provide guidance to align each DOD comptroller while enhancing its public perception and reinforcing itself as a thought leader in the finance industry at the same time. With the largest budget of any U.S. government department, stakeholders and the public look with interest at DOD finances.

Accounting for every DOD expenditure requires accurate tracking and consolidation into resulting reports, a monumental challenge. Although OUSD(C) has improved fiscal responsibility and transparency in recent years, communicating this progress and opening dialogues about finance with other agencies and external organizations required a different skill set. As a result, OUSD(C) needed to establish channels to communicate effectively with other defense comptrollers, work more effectively with Congress and develop partnerships in academia and the finance industry.


Innovation meets strategic communications in large-scale branding efforts: Aptive experts have extensive experience developing communications systems for world-class government agencies. OUSD(C) brought Aptive on board to examine traditional and nontraditional methods of communicating and to develop an engagement strategy that would effectively distribute a unified message.

New branding

As OUSD(C) takes steps to reinforce itself as a trustworthy thought leader in the financial management industry, it needs a new look and feel to complement its evolution. Aptive helped OUSD(C) develop fresh communications templates using established seals and logos plus a new palette of graphics to create relevant and modern documents. The new branding captures OUSD(C)’s ethos as a trustworthy steward of taxpayer dollars and an innovative office that adopts new technologies for better materials and budget tracking.

Internal strategic communications

Research and engaging stakeholders established key narratives aligned with the under secretary’s priorities. Aptive captured these narratives in a cohesive strategic communications plan that included communications initiatives, goals and deliverable content such as briefing decks, talking points, remarks, internal newsletters, emails, brochures, slick sheets and posters. In addition, OUSD(C) needed a new internal web portal in preparation for an entire website overhaul. The revamped portal improves internal navigation and information access for employees. Finally, one of the most critical aspects of the strategic communications plan was the overarching financial management strategy OUSD(C) released, complete with supporting communications efforts that ensured all DOD comptroller offices could align on the mission, vision and goals of the financial management strategy. To accompany these efforts, OUSD(C) released action plans that helped all employees understand how their work connected to the goals and initiatives laid out in the financial management plan and how they could support the mission.

External communications

After laying the groundwork for a website overhaul with the revamped internal portal, OUSD(C) is prepared to develop a future site that will communicate critical information about the office and its support of DOD’s mission to people who are not financial managers.

Showcasing OUSD(C)’s work in new and innovative ways meant exploring new channels of modern communications. With new branding and cohesive messaging ready to deploy externally, Aptive and OUSD(C) explored how to use communications channels to strengthen communications with other DOD comptrollers, establish partnerships with industry professionals and academia and work more closely with Congress. The team established the first ever, DOD-wide financial management conference where financial staff across the department came together to align on OUSD(C)’s shared vision for DOD’s fiscal management community.


Strong internal communications efforts unified DOD’s financial management community

The DOD financial management community is comprised of over 55,000 personnel. The revamped web portal helped break down communications barriers among the different DOD comptroller offices and align all 55,000 employees with OUSD(C)’s overarching strategy. Additional employee engagement events help the workforce connect and celebrate internal successes throughout the change process.

The first-ever financial management conference successfully engaged the community with an open dialogue about the direction of fiscal matters within DOD. The Under Secretary of Defense Comptroller has held more speaking events, communicating their vision on a broader scale to different stakeholder groups. Participants provided important qualitative feedback on leadership engagement events.

Aptive tracks metrics to establish a baseline for OUSD(C)’s communications efforts, including web traffic, open rates and other engagement. This baseline will illuminate progress over time as OUSD(C) continues to spread its unified message about financial management across DOD.