The Army plans to have a new web-based pay and personnel system up and running within three years to replace more than 200 systems now in use across the active-duty, National Guard and Reserve components.
"You would have thought this was something that had gotten fixed in the past," Lt. Gen. Thomas C. Seamands, the service's deputy chief of staff, G-1 (Personnel), said Wednesday of the more than 200 ways the Army currently has of keeping track of personnel and making sure they get paid correctly and on time.
As an example, he cited the National Guard -- "54 states and territories, 54 pay and personnel systems, all adjusted a little bit to meet each state's requirements."
At a roundtable session with defense reporters at the Association of the U.S. Army's annual convention, Seamands said the Army plans to have the National Guard on the new, web-based Integrated Personnel and Pay System-Army (IPPS-A) next year.
The active duty and Reserve will segue in 2019.
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The new system should be integrated across all components within three years, he said.
The goal is that "in three years we'll be able to tell you that soldiers have fewer pay problems, are getting their promotions on time, getting all the things they need," Seamands said.
"And it will be auditable; we'll be able to explain where the money's going in the personnel system with the detail we owe Congress along those lines," he said.
In 2015, the Army awarded a five-year $159 million contract to CACI International Inc. to develop IPPS-A as a web-based system to standardize, streamline and integrate soldier personnel and pay processes and data across all Army components.
In a statement at the time, CACI said that IPPS-A will eventually be "the largest integrated human resources system of its kind" and will eliminate the Army's reliance on a welter of antiquated pay systems.
CACI President and Chief Executive Officer Ken Asbury said, "This contract enables us to expand our work in our business systems market while supporting the Army in achieving an imperative goal -- ensuring that all soldiers are paid accurately and on time for many years to come."
At the roundtable, Army Col. Gregory S. Johnson, chief of the Functional Management Division, went into detail on how IPPS-A will work.
"The big 'so what' with this is that it's going to tie pay and human resources [HR] together in one system. So you're going to do your transaction, your HR transaction, in the system and it's going to drive the pay automatically," he said.
"Today, there's a complete air gap between the two," Johnson said. "So you'll do an HR transaction, usually tied to a piece of paper, and that's taken across the post to a finance entity, and then it's recoded into a finance system. There's a lot of error in the process."
"Who's really affected is the soldier," he said, "and you'll see a lot of errors when people transition from the Reserve components to the active."
Soldiers should see the immediate effects of IPPS-A when they deploy, Johnson said.
Currently, the extra pay "you get when operating downrange -- there'll be a time lag when a soldier is paid," he said. "IPPS-A is going to drive the pay automatically."
"That's why we say it's revolutionary," Johnson said. "It's absolutely tied to the betterment of our soldiers and their families' lives, in the sense of just getting their pay on time."
-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.