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News | Feb. 28, 2022

Preparing for IPPS-A at JBLE

By Erik Siegel 633d Air Base Wing Public Affairs

The Integrated Personnel and Pay System – Army, a web-based program poised to revolutionize Army human resources through talent management, reduction in IT and military pay costs, and improvement in the lives of Army personnel through systemic transparency and mobile capabilities, is set to go live, Army-wide, Sept. 2022.

IPPS-A came about in response to legacy Army HR systems and databases, which were either non-communicative with each other or paper-based.

“Many of these were ‘stovepipe legacy systems’ that didn’t talk to each other, which led to confusion, frustration and delays in personnel actions,” said Lani Gates, 733d Force Support Squadron human resources specialist. “An example of this is when a Soldier was promoted. One system promoted the Soldier, another system paid the Soldier, while another system updated his/her records. These three systems required independent inputs, which at times were conflated with human error.”

According to Gates, the purpose of IPPS-A is to combine existing personnel and pay systems, streamline the processing of actions, make the data more accurate and reliable, and reduce redundancies; all of which will operate in near real-time with 24/7 self-service capabilities. IPPS-A will also provide better safeguards and security of personnel and pay information to protect personal information. All of this sounds like it should have significant impact on the day-to-day of HR personnel, but how does this impact those on the receiving end; the everyday Soldier?

“In one word, convenience,” Gates said. “Personnel records, finance records, and housing records. The process is now down to hours versus weeks. Soldiers and leaders can conduct business in real time, with little disruption from the battlefield.  Soldier will also be able to conduct personnel business using [their] phone, home computer, or other electronic device[s]. No more going to S1 for all actions. A Soldier can initiate an action and track its progress from beginning to end from the convenience of their home.”

An example Gates gave is getting married. The current legacy system would have a Soldier who was recently married go to their S1, provide a copy of their marriage certificate and then request BAH for housing. They would also need ID Cards, which requires registering their new family member in DEERS and Tricare. This process takes time, which is necessary for the Soldier and their family, but is still time away from the mission. With IPPS-A, when a Soldier brings their marriage document to be uploaded, all appropriate systems are updated simultaneously.

An undertaking like this is no overnight task. IPPS-A has been in active testing since first quarter FY2019. Its rollout Army-wide is slated for Sept. 2022.

“Think of 200 lanes of traffic going into a two-lane tunnel,” said Gates. “We must develop and implement a process that moves all the legacy systems into IPPS-A with little or no effect to the Soldier. We cannot turn off the systems right away because Soldiers still use those systems every day. We must develop a phased-in approached. Many of the current legacy systems had outdated information, that must be cleaned up prior to being imported into IPPS-A.”

One particular clean-up item is differences in names. A Soldier’s last name may be Miller-Gates, which means HR must ensure the system imports Miller-Gates, and not Gates, Miller or Millergates.

“Education is the HR’s responsibility to the community,” Gates said. “Currently, the HR community is providing numerous training sessions to show our Soldiers and leaders how IPPS-A works. We want it to be a smooth process. [Army Human Resource Command] has provided numerous training modules that a Soldier and leader can register for today and practice on, [making] the overall system less intimidating to the Soldier.”

For more information about IPPS-A, visit https://ipps-a.army.mil/.

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