Garrison automates outprocessing, cuts hassle
January 31, 2011
CAMP RED CLOUD - Warrior Country Soldiers who receive orders for a permanent change of station beginning Feb. 15 will benefit from a new automated outprocessing system that will reduce the number of organizations they must clear and the amount of time it takes.
Dubbed the PCS Express - the U.S. Army Garrison Red Cloud Directorate of Human Resources tapped into the Installation Support Module - a Web-based software application designed to provide a fully integrated, standardized, shared information processing service - to automate and customize outprocessing for Soldiers.
Maj. William Griffin, the former 2nd Infantry Division Public Affairs Officer who departed Jan. 22 for Germany, participated in the DHR pilot project to check the integrity of the system. Using the customized clearing papers he was issued, the original list of 29 service providers in the system was trimmed to only six that he was required to visit.
"The new electronic clearing process is extremely efficient," Griffin said after dropping off his completed clearing papers at MPD. "It really cuts the amount of time it takes to clear routine agencies down to a fraction of what it used to be."
DHR was able to tap into ISM because the Central Issue Facility entered every Soldier who has received military equipment into the centralized database.
"That's the beauty of this because when we started this process it probably would have taken us a half year or longer if we had to build a record for every Soldier in Area I," Tucker said.
The Military Personnel Division serves as the gatekeeper for the outprocessing module that includes the start date, required clearance date and the reason for clearing. The required clearance date informs service providers when a Soldier must be pre-cleared in the system to eliminate the need to visit the organization.
Service providers such as Army Community Service, Army Emergency Relief, the education office and others were pre-cleared in the system and were shown as cleared on the customized clearing papers given to Griffin. He was only required to visit medical, dental, transportation, CIF, housing and finance - organizations that cannot be pre-cleared in the system.
Tucker said that after hearing Soldiers' frustrations it became apparent that something had to be done to improve outprocessing.
"Being an ex-Soldier, I sympathize and understand," she said. "'Why should I go the school' I don't have children. So that's just another stop that I should not have to make.'"
Not only does the new automated system eliminate many unnecessary stops, it also reduces the amount of time Soldiers spend traveling between installations to clear. For example, a Soldier can out-process the library at any Area I installation regardless of their duty station.
Tucker said the pilot also proved that Soldiers can clear in 5 days vice the 10-14 days they are currently given by their units.
"The reason they received all this additional time was because they had 29 stops to make," she said. "They had to take the bus from Casey to Stanley to CRC and back to Casey. It was overwhelming."
Griffin agreed the new system is more efficient for Soldiers.
"Soldiers' time is really important, especially with all the hectic tasks they must complete before they PCS out and this is just a step forward in taking care of Soldiers," he said.
Tucker said she hopes other garrisons will also take advantage of the PCS Express.
"I'm just really excited," she said. "I don't think we can do anything but improve."