While McCord and Undersecretary Robert F. Hale focus on the same issues—managing the department's massive budget and improving its financial management—McCord is more internally focused on things such as personnel and contracts. The biggest challenge is dealing with the congressionally driven budget uncertainty of recent years. "The main thing that's going to focus our time and attention most here in Comptroller is this question of living with the Budget Control Act," he said. But McCord's 24 years working on the Hill should come in handy. While there, he spent 21 years on the Senate Armed Services Committee handling defense budgets, base closings, and related issues. Joining the administration after so much time in the legislative branch was not as difficult a switch as it may seem. There's a lot of communication among people who work in defense, whether at agencies or congressional offices, he said. But one aspect of his life did change drastically: McCord has competed in 10 marathons, 14 half-marathons, and a half-Ironman triathlon—none of which he had ever done before his appointment. McCord, 54, got a B.A. in economics from Ohio State University and a master's in public policy from the University of Pennsylvania.