Business Transformation Plan Addresses Troop Pay Issues
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 26, 2005 Improving the process that provides servicemembers with correct pay and allowances is part of the Defense Department's plan to modernize its business practices, senior DoD transformation officials said here today.
DoD is attuned to troop pay issues, Thomas B. Modly, deputy undersecretary of defense for financial management, told reporters during an interview at the Pentagon.
Fixing military pay issues is also a part of DoD's transformation efforts, Modly said.
Ensuring servicemembers receive their proper pay involves knowing how to actually make payments and also recognizing personnel actions that affect pay, Modley said.
DoD currently lacks an overarching system to integrate pay-related personnel actions occurring in the field -- such as inputting an authorization for combat or danger pay -- with pay disbursement made by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, Modly said.
Unit personnel specialists cause some errors that lead to troop pay problems, Modly said. Inaccurate data is then integrated into the pay system, which produces paychecks that don't jibe with servicemembers' expectations.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has vowed to modernize and transform the department to improve its across-the-board efficiency, including issues like military pay. In fact, DoD is slated to invest $4.2 billion for agency-wide business modernization in fiscal 2006, Paul A. Brinkley, deputy undersecretary of defense for business transformation, said.
As part of this effort, DoD will stand up a new Business Transformation Agency that will be headed by a career civil servant to be selected in coming months, Brinkley said.
Brinkley said the Business Transformation Agency isn't a bureaucratic exercise. Its purpose, he explained, is to help direct and coordinate the modernization of DoD's business operations.
The Defense Integrated Military Human Resources System is a key program under the BTA's purview that's envisioned to improve military-pay operations.
Army Reserve Maj. Gen. Carlos D. Pair, currently chief of staff for U.S. Transportation Command at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., was recently designated as the first defense business systems acquisition executive. Pair is slated to start his new job Nov. 14. He'll be a key member of the BTA leadership team, Brinkley said. Pair will have executive responsibility and oversight of DoD-level acquisition programs, Brinkley said.
Pair will also be involved with oversight of the Defense Integrated Military Personnel Pay System, Modly noted. He noted that DoD has always placed a high priority on solving servicemembers' pay problems.
Recent press reports citing pay problems among deployed servicemembers referred to incidents that occurred months back, with most having been resolved long ago, he said.
In fact, troop pay mix-ups have come down substantially in the past year, Modly said.
DoD and service-branch pay officials are now confident about the quality of service devoted to ensuring that servicemembers receive the correct pay, Modly said.