By Mr. Cotton PuryearApril 9, 2019
STAUNTON, Va. -Brig. Gen. Yesenia R. Roque, National Guard Assistant Director for Army National Guard Personnel and Talent Management, visited Virginia National Guard Soldiers assigned to the Staunton-based 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team April 6, to see first hand how they are training on the Army's new personnel and pay system.
The Integrated Personnel and Pay System Army, or IPPS-A, went live in Virginia April 5, and Virginia is the second state conducting initial fielding. IPPS-A is an online human resources system that will provide integrated personnel, pay and talent management capabilities in a single system to all Army components for the first time ever.
"It is especially important to me as a fellow Guardsman because the Army National Guard is spearheading the deliberate rollout of IPPS-A for the Total Army," Roque said. "This is a great opportunity for us because we aren't receiving it after initial fielding, but are an integral part of the rollout itself."
She asked the Soldiers of the 116th to carry that message forward and share the importance and how it will impact the way the Guard takes care of Soldiers. She also encouraged the Soldiers to be patient with the new system and highlighted that the familiarization and ease of functionality would improve.
"IPPS-A is going to make things easier," she said. "Easier to process, easier to respond to and easier to track."
She explained that IPPS-A provides a platform that is transparent, so HR professionals and Soldiers will know the status of their actions because there is a digital print to follow.
"The Virginia National Guard is proud to serve as the tip of the spear for the Army's implementation of transparency in pay and personnel records," said Lt. Col. Rusty McGuire, deputy commander of the 116th. "Soldiers are now able to view their records in real time and take ownership in ensuring accuracy and completeness of their records."
McGuire said he appreciated Roque taking the time to visit and see first hand how the Soldiers are using the new system. He indicated she took notes on feedback from the brigade personnel office and Soldiers that she can take back to the programmers to help improve the system.
"Brig. Gen. Roque and her team are more than knowledgeable about the system, willing to divulge the big picture of IPPS-A and also able to explain the intricacies of its basic capabilities," said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Sandra F. Williams, a human resources technician with the 116th and acting brigade personnel officer. "They are earnest in finding solutions to the challenges we face as the second state to go live. I feel more confident our human resources professionals will thrive and provide exceptional Soldier care."
"IPPS-A is not only replacing SIDPERS, but it's bringing additional functionality to the Total Force," explained Chief Warrant Officer 2 Lionel Blair, the IPPS-A integration officer in the Virginia Army National Guard state personnel office.
IPPS-A integrates more than 30 current systems and provides integrated human resource capabilities that enable Army personnel data updates to automatically trigger Soldier pay transactions. This capability ensures Soldiers receive timely and accurate pay once a personnel change is made, such as a promotion or change in dependents.
"Soldiers now have a 'Virtual PAC Slip' to submit documents, request personnel actions or simply submit an inquiry to their readiness NCO and S-1," Blair said.
In addition, the self-service IPPS-A web portal improves access to personnel and pay information by providing a self-service option. The portal can be accessed from a cell phone or laptop using their DOD self-service login account. Users can also use the Common Access Card to access the portal and are advised to use their email certificate when doing so.
All of IPPS-A's capabilities create a more accurate and reliable human resource system for Army Soldiers, leaders, commanders, and human resource professionals.
"Readiness NCOs and S-1 offices now have a ticket system embedded within IPPS-A to troubleshoot and correct Soldiers' records," Blair explained. "This reduces the reliance on e-mail management and local suspense files."
All Virginia National Guard Soldiers will have access to self-service capabilities within IPPS-A, but in order for this to happen, users will first need to become familiar with the system.
That means all Virginia Army National Guard Soldiers, both M-Day and Active Guard, and Reserve, will be required to complete online training.
Commanders at all levels have a one-hour distance learning requirement in order to approve personnel actions.
"Commanders have access to manage their Soldiers, see their readiness indicators and approve transactions from home," Blair said. "First sergeants and sergeants major now have visibility of their formation 24/7."