Five Questions with Sandy Pack
Q: Throughout your career, including both of the Bush-Cheney campaigns and at the U.S. Army, you have managed complex financial operations. What are the key differences in managing financial operations in the private sector versus the public sector?
A. The biggest difference is in the budgeting and managing the spending. I did not know, and I think most Americans do not appreciate, that our country does not budget for war. When the Commander-in-Chief orders the U.S. Army to go to war, it finances war operations via its existing Operations and Maintenance Appropriation (OMA) until it can be reimbursed via a supplemental appropriation passed by Congress. In war and in a Presidential campaign, the goal is the same: to win. You can’t win if you run out of money. Tracking and managing your spending in accordance with your budget projections is key. In both cases, you are dependent on others to provide the money to finance your mission. Smart spending can make all the difference in the outcome.
Q: What is your favorite memory from the 2000 Bush-Cheney campaign?
A: December 13, 2000, 36 days after Election Day, listening to then Vice-President Al Gore’s gracious concession speech and then sitting in the Chamber of the Texas House of Representatives and listening to President-Elect Bush’s victory speech. My favorite line from President-Elect Bush’s speech was this one: “Whether you voted for me or not, I will do my best to serve your interests and I will work to earn your respect.”
Q. What do you like most about working with the U.S. military?
A. When I hear President Bush talk about the remarkable people who answer the call to serve our country and his intent to spend the rest of his life supporting our military, I could not agree more. That is a commitment that President Bush and I share and it is why I have been serving as Chief Audit Executive for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the past 8 years and why I joined the Board of Directors for the Army Historical Foundation (AHF) in 2015.
We all make choices in life, but few of us willingly volunteer to defend our Nation and our Constitution. This, in my mind, is the key distinction between the profession of arms and most other professions, including mine as a CPA. A soldier in combat, when necessary and under the proper rules of engagement, commits to two things: (1) the taking of other human lives, and (2) the forfeiting of his/her own life for the sake of the mission. That is a profound commitment. I could not respect our military more and I want to do everything I can to support them.
Q: As a member of the Army Historical Foundation board, you have played a key role in the National Museum of the U.S. Army, which opens on Fort Belvoir, Va. in late 2019. How did the museum project get started?
A. Amazingly, the oldest and largest branch of the Armed Services, the U.S. Army, established on June 14, 1775, does not have its own landmark museum. In the early 2000s, the U.S. Army approached the Army Historical Foundation (AHF) to raise private funds to build a world-class museum in the Nation’s Capital. Since then, AHF has raised more than 60% of the funds needed. I’m amazed at how much has been accomplished by a few dedicated staff and volunteers.
Last September, AHF broke ground on the museum and construction began early this year. Over the past month alone, AHF has placed four major artifacts into its new and permanent home in what will be the museum:
1) A 1917 Renault tank, the “Five of Hearts,” the type that Gen. George Patton used during WWI
2) A WWII Higgins boat used at the landing at Normandy during D-Day
3) A Sherman tank, the “Cobra King,” that was the lead tank into Bastogne during the WWII Battle of the Bulge
4) “Thunder Run,” the lead Bradley Fighting Vehicle into Baghdad in 2003. AHF is building the Museum around these macro artifacts. To date, the structural concrete has been poured (more than 15,800 cubic yards) and the structural steel is being erected. AHF expects to open the Museum in late 2019.
Q: What would you like people to know about the museum and how can your fellow BCA members help?
A. There are many ways my fellow alumni can help. Because we are still raising money for the construction of the Museum, we still need financial support. There are two ways BCAs can help financially: 1) Make a donation and/or buy a commemorative brick; and 2) Help open doors to other potential donors. Please let me know if you know someone who might be interested in supporting the Museum. We are only too happy to arrange for a meeting and a tour of the Museum site for anyone who is interested.
Because this Museum honors the American Soldier, AHF has created two permanent ways for donors to honor a Soldier: commemorative bricks and an online database of Soldier’s Stories. I encourage everyone to honor the American Soldiers they know. It could be a family member, a classmate, a friend, or an ancestor. The Museum will feature kiosks where visitors will be able to look up and read the stories of the service and sacrifice of the more than 30 million Americans who have worn the Army uniform since 1775. You can register your Soldier online at www.ArmyHistory.org/the-Registries.
Spreading the word about the museum also is helpful. Please visit AHF’s website, ArmyHistory.org, to learn more about the project and to see the latest photos of the construction. Then talk to your friends, family and soldiers about the museum – ask them if they know about it. If they don’t, then send them to AHF’s website. Like and share posts, pictures, and articles about the museum on your social media.
Finally, I encourage BCAs to take a tour of the museum site and talk to our team and, once they do, I believe they will become as passionate as I am about the U.S. Army, our American soldiers, and their National Army Museum. Please email David Cotter, email@example.com and he will be happy to schedule a tour and to elaborate further.