The Army National Guard hit a major milestone by finishing the roll out of a massive personnel system that allows soldiers to stay up to date on their pay and benefits through mobile phone.
More than 330,000 Army National Guard members in all 50 states and four territories are now on the Integrated Personnel and Pay System-Army (IPPS-A). The initiative, once completely finished in December 2021, will digitally hold human resources information and talent management attributes for more than 1 million soldiers in the Guard, Reserve and active force.
The Army is now focusing on adding the other components of the service to IPPS-A and tacking on additional features.
“We have taken part of the Army from the industrial age in HR into the information age with a state-of-the-art system that replaced the 54 instances of the Standard Installation and Division Personnel Reporting System, which was a giant leap in the early 1980s,” Roy Wallace, Army assistant deputy chief of staff for personnel, told reporters Thursday via teleconference.
The Army has more than 200 personnel and pay systems across its total force. By 2025 IPPS-A will eliminate 40 HR systems.
The program allows Army Guard members to track personnel actions related to getting married, having a child and many other pay and benefits-related changes from their phones. Soldiers can also track which supervisor is handling the action and its status.
“In the legacy environment, the soldier would have to do an HR action on a piece of paper,” said Col. Gregory Johnson, director of the IPPS-A functional management division. “The soldier would turn that in and then wouldn’t have any idea on what the status of that action was, where it was at or when it would be approved. We turn that on its head today. Now the soldier can turn in a personnel action request off of his personal mobile phone and then they will have complete transparency of understanding where that action is.”
Johnson said this iteration of IPPS-A sets the groundwork for future features like a talent marketplace, which allows soldiers to upload resumes and proof of skills outside their occupations so they can match with commanders and positions that best suit their abilities. The talent marketplace assesses 25 different attributes to match soldiers with the right jobs.
Wallace said as the National Guard continues to use IPPS-A, it is relying on social media to find bugs in the system and fix them as the program begins moving to the Reserve and active components.
The system will also help the National Guard with the COVID-19 response.
“We have every National Guard soldier now in one system, so you can see all the enterprise actions all in one system,” Johnson said. “It’s to see, ‘Hey I have over 15,000 on the move who are doing operations.’ There’s an overarching picture that’s very simplistic to see.”
For individual soldiers, they can take a picture of a birth certificate, prove the birth of a new child and put it in the system without having to come in contact with another human and risk spreading the coronavirus.