The Bayonet

Tuesday, Sep. 02, 2014

Soldiers given greater access to personnel record

By NICK DUKE / nick.duke@bayonetandsaber.com

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Over the next few years, the Army will make major changes to the way Soldiers and human resources professionals access and manage electronic records.

The new Integrated Personnel and Pay System-Army is intended to be fully operational by fiscal 2018, and will absorb all current electronic record keeping systems, including those used for finance and payroll functions.

"The final thing that they will subsume will be finance, where we will have one big system where someone can put in a change in a Soldier's grade and have it update all the other systems automatically," said Jessica Maddox, chief of the Personnel Automation Section for the Fort Benning Directorate of Human Resources. "That's monumental to make all of these systems work together."

One of the most notable of those systems is the current Electronic Military Personnel Office, which will eventually be completely replaced by IPPS-A.

Maddox said because the Army uses so many different electronic records systems, IPPS-A is being rolled out in five releases, with the first release consisting of three waves. The first two waves are complete, with the Army and National Guard now having access to IPPS-A.

Currently, IPPS-A only contains the Soldier Record Brief, a new report that will be the single document used for all Soldiers and will replace the Enlisted Record Brief and the Officer Evaluation Report.

Maddox said IPPS-A in its current phase is nontransactional, meaning the SRB cannot be edited within IPPS-A.

When IPPS-A went live, an email was sent to each Soldier with instructions on how to access their SRB. Maddox said Soldiers should look over those SRBs now to ensure there are no errors.

"If there are errors on it, some of them can be corrected, but none of them within IPPS-A," she said. "Soldiers should simply go back to their HR professional, which would be their S1 in the field or myself to have the record corrected in whatever legacy system supports that particular function."

IPPS-A and the SRB will enable Soldiers to access their records on their own, rather than having to request copies of an ERB or OER as under the previous systems.

"We produce reports in eMILPO, so if someone wants an ERB, they have to go and ask an S1 or military personnel officer to produce one," Maddox said. "Now, with IPPS-A, every Soldier was automatically granted access to their SRB and is able to pull their own. There will be a whole lot of self-service functions built into IPPS-A."

When fully fielded, IPPS-A will provide Soldiers improved online access to their personnel record and the ability to initiate Human Resources personnel action requests 24 hours a day via IPPS-A's Common Access Card-enabled Web portal.

After all five releases are deployed, Soldiers will have the ability to:

•View their full personnel record and SRB.

•Submit a human resources request, such as selecting benefit options, enrolling in a thrift savings plan or changing direct deposit information.

•Initiate and monitor human resources actions within IPPS-A.

•Update their own personal information for approval.

•Perform many other pay and personnel functions.

The next wave of the first release will give HR professionals and unit leaders access to their Soldiers' SRBs, as well as access to nine predefined personnel queries.

"This would be, for instance, gains and losses for the installation or demographics so one can take a snapshot look at the organization," Maddox said. "Overseas deployment history could be another, as well as promotion history. It will be some of the reports that seem to be pulled by the field the most often to manage their unit."

Maddox said any questions about accessing IPPS-A or the SRB should be sent to her or S1s in the field. The IPPS-A website, https://www.ipps-a.army.mil, also has a list of frequently asked questions that may be able to address some issues.

For more information, visit the IPPS-A website or contact Maddox at 706-545-2411 or jessica.f.maddox.civ@mail.mil.

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