New System Integrates Military Pay, Personnel Systems
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 29, 2003 A new Web-based system will integrate all of the services' military personnel and pay systems, DoD officials announced today.
The Defense Integrated Military Human Resources System will provide "one-stop shopping" for service members when it is fully implemented.
Officials said the new system will be more accurate and make it easier for active duty and reserve component service members to check on their records. Phase 2 of the contract, awarded to Northrop-Grumman, will run about $281 million. The system will use commercial-off-the-shelf technology developed by PeopleSoft, an enterprise software company based in Pleasanton, Calif. The license to use the software is at $48 million.
"This is a big deal," David Chu, defense undersecretary for personnel and readiness, said. "I'm told this is the largest application of PeopleSoft suite in the world. We're pioneers here. Its functionality is very important to the department's long-term success."
Chu said that although the drive for the system preceded the current administration, it is very much in the spirit of transformation promulgated by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. The system will absorb the 79 "legacy" systems into one Web-based system accessible to all who need to view those records, including the service members themselves.
The system will provide better, more accurate and more timely information for service members and warfighters, officials said. The system will allow combatant commanders "to have much better visibility over what is ultimately the most important resource they have: their people," Chu said.
Accurate, timely information also is important to service members. "There have been press stories in the past about service men and women who get lost in the system, who don't receive timely and accurate pay and benefits and who can't document where they were in military operations so they can get benefits for service-related medical conditions," Norma J. St. Claire said. "DIMHRS will truly transform military personnel and pay management for the department." St. Claire is the director of DoD's Joint Requirements and Integration Office.
Military personnel management is far more complex and far-reaching that personnel management in the private sector, she said. "We have the responsibility of following our service members from the moment they enter the military essentially for the rest of their lives," she said. What complicates military records is that service members transfer between the active and reserve components, and, today, that also often means reserve mobilization with concurrent duty overseas.
The system will create a single record of service for each service member that will follow the service member. The records also will be used by the Department of Veterans Affairs after the service member leaves the military, officials said.
It should simplify life for military members. One example St. Claire used was a service member's promotion. Today, a personnel specialist puts that record into the personnel system and then a pay specialist has to put the pertinent information into the pay system. With the new system, this is done once.
"Service members today very often spend a lot of their time baby-sitting their records," St. Claire said. "The ones who know enough about how personnel systems work, know enough to keep their own personal copies of everything, then they have to go around to make sure the systems reflect what they've got in it."
The records will be online and will have security protection. Service members will be able to access their records online, and if they see errors will be able to report those immediately.
Navy Capt. Valerie E. Carpenter, the joint program manager for the system, said the new system will make it much easier for service members to see what's in -- or not in -- their records. "They won't have to request a microfiche, or a hard copy," she said.
The Army will be the first user, with an initial operations capability set for November 2005. "The services will be doing what we call data-cleansing; they will bring in the data they currently have, and it will go into the common database," Carpenter said.
The system is the result of a recommendation the Defense Science Board made in the mid-1990s. Most companies had integrated their pay and personnel systems, and the board felt the military should also. Officials said they expect some savings from eliminating duplicative systems.