Defense IT

Army a step closer to one HR system for all soldiers

The Army is ready to field the second increment of its massive, servicewide human resources system, covering more than 1 million service members across all of the Army’s components.

The Integrated Personnel and Pay System-Army (IPPS-A) Increment II in December got the approval from the Defense Acquisition Board to begin the fielding and development phase of the program, according to an announcement by the Army’s Program Office Executive for Enterprise Information Systems. With the approval, which means the program achieved its Milestone B, the Army also got the green light to award CACI-ISS a $32.2 million contract to implement Increment II.

The system, which will replace or absorb more than 40 outdated, dissimilar systems, will keep records on pay, assignments, benefits and other information for all soldiers in the active Army, Army National Guard and Army Reserve. It will automate pay actions when personnel information changes and service as the Army’s comprehensive source of personnel and pay information, PEO EIS said.

Despite its size—IPPS-A Project Manager Col. James (Darby) McNulty said it is the largest enterprise resource planning system in the world—it originally was to part of a much larger system. The Pentagon had set out to create a single HR system for the entire Defense Department, the Defense Integrated Military Human Resource System. But in 2010, after spending a dozen years and $1 billion on DIMHRS, Adm. Mike Mullen, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs, pulled the plug, saying, “This program has been a disaster."

In the wake of that debacle, the military services each embarked on building their own systems, taking an incremental rather than universal approach. The Navy Standard Integrated Personnel System, for which the service awarded SRA International a $96 million contract in June 2014, is currently deployed on 150 ships. he Air Force in August awarded IBM an $11.8 million contract for work on its system, the Air Force IPPS.

The Army said that when IPPS-A is fully deployed, it will:

  • Create an integrated personnel and pay record for each soldier that will stay with them for their entire career.
  • Allow soldiers to access personal information 24 hours a day.
  • Ensure access to accurate and timely military personnel data and delivery of benefits to all levels of management.
  • Serve as the authoritative database for personnel and pay data, subsuming many antiquated and disjointed systems.

“The Defense Acquisition Board’s approval of IPPS-A Increment II Milestone B is a vote of confidence in the program and allows us to take the next step toward fielding a system that will improve the lives of soldiers, commanders, and human resources professionals,” McNulty said.

About the Author

Kevin McCaney is a former editor of Defense Systems and GCN.

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