With more than 6,000 Soldiers in the 3d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), managing Soldiers' records can seem like a daunting task. Yet, using the Army's Electronic Military Personnel Office, that task has become much easier.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Walter Keen, a human resources technician for the 3d ESC, uses the eMILPO system on a daily basis for a wide variety of tasks.
"eMILPO is the system of records for Army personnel and keeps track of all Soldiers within a particular unit, keeps track of Soldiers' individual records, and in general houses every Soldier's record in the active duty Army," said Keen. "In addition, any active guard or reserve Soldiers that are mobilized are also entered into and tracked in the system."
Keen said before eMILPO was created, the Army used the Standard Installation and Division Personnel Reporting System (SIDPERS). The Army was trying to make Soldiers records (internet) based so they could be updated real time.
"Before we had floppy discs, big servers and tapes," said Keen. "We used sneaker-net to transfer information; you put your information on a tape and you walked the tape to the next person so they could upload your transactions."
Keen said while eMILPO makes syncing Soldiers' records across the Army much easier, that's not the only improvement to the system.
"If there is an error and something doesn't work, you have the eMILPO Field Assistance Team at HRC that can assist you in correcting information," said Keen. "It is a lot easier than back in the day when you would get a report that's pretty thick and you'd have to read codes to find out why a transaction errored out."
Capt. Chris Howard, a human resources officer serving with the 3d ESC, also has extensive experience with eMILPO and uses it to update Soldiers' awards, assignment history, military education and overseas tour information.
Howard also feels the eMILPO system is easy to use and says he generally only runs into one challenge while using it.
"I believe that eMILPO is an easy system to use, if you are willing to ask for help and use the web-based training," said Howard. "The only challenge with the system is the length of time it takes some information to show up on the Officer Record Brief; a lot of time officers want their information updated instantly." Information entered on officers is updated in eMILPO real time today, but the data transfer to Total Army Personnel Data Base (TAPDB) creates a time lag for the ORB display.
While eMILPO has made managing Soldiers' records a less daunting task, the Army is working on a new system, the Integrated Personnel and Pay System-Army (IPPS-A) to replace eMILPO. The new system will provide a more centralized resource to better manage personnel and pay information.