ARLINGTON, Va. -- There are three things you never mess with if you want Soldiers to have high morale. You never mess with their pay, you never mess with their mail, and you never mess with their meals.

The Integrated Personnel and Pay System -- Army (IPPS-A) is creating the most advanced HR, personnel and pay system in the world that will impact over 1.1 million Soldiers. It will integrate all three Army Components (Active, Guard and Reserve) into one comprehensive system. "The fact that we don't have all our Components on one system is not fair to you all," said Army Chief of Staff Gen. James C. McConville during in an address at the annual conference of the National Guard Association of the United States in Denver on Aug. 31, 2019. "When you go on active duty, we mess up your records, we mess up your pay and we've got to fix that."

IPPS-A is currently being fielded to the Army National Guard. Release 3, scheduled to be fielded to the Active Army and Reserve, is groundbreaking because HR Soldiers will take on more military pay duties in the system. IPPS-A has begun training Active Component Soldiers and civilians in advance of this change scheduled for late 2021.

A MilPay Fundamentals course was taught September 23-26, 2019 at the headquarters of U.S. Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg, N.C. Seventeen military and civilian personnel from the 82nd Airborne Division were trained by facilitators from IPPS-A MilPay Transition Team operating out of U.S. Army Human Resources Command, and the Defense Finance and Accounting Service.

The course teaches human resources (HR) NCOs and Army civilians how to research and answer inquiries involving HR transactions that involve pay, and to perform tasks as the front-end owner of HR transactions in IPPS-A.

"With the rapid implementation of IPPS-A, HR Professionals will not just have a singular focus on awards, actions, and promotions, as the Army transforms, so must our Soldiers. Part of that transformation will be including MilPay in their daily transactions. These courses provide the baseline fundamentals that Soldiers will utilize on a daily basis as their HR knowledge is expanded to include financial transactions. Teaching the rules, policies, and basics will allow them to stay in sync with the next generation of Soldiers who learn the training during
Advanced Individual Training," said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jonathan K. Cunningham of Ft. Bragg XVIII Airborne Corps.

IPPS-A Army National Guard Liaison Sgt. 1st Class Jay Hanna wants HR leaders to understand the value and impact of gaining as much knowledge and practical experience possible by attending courses in advance of full program launch. "MilPay Fundamentals training is critical for HR Professionals because even in Release 2, HR Professionals will be processing pay impacting transactions in IPPS-A and need an understanding of how those transactions will flow through the system and affect Soldiers pay accounts. This will become even more important in Releases 3 and 4 as IPPS-A will be processing even more pay impacting and pay generating transactions and begin to subsume legacy pay systems," said Sgt. 1st Class Hanna.

Additional information and demonstrations of the system are available through the IPPS-A YouTube page: youtube.com/c/IPPSA. Follow the program on social media at facebook.com/armyippsa/ and twitter.com/IPPSArmy.