ARLINGTON, Va. ꟷ The key to success is often the consistent implementation of the right strategic plan. This is why the Integrated Personnel and Pay System – Army’s (IPPS-A) Functional Data Branch has conducted workshops since November 2019 to teach U.S. Army Active Duty major commands why the Army Organization Server (AOS) is integral to the success of IPPS-A.
AOS presents a new way of managing force structure over the familiar paragraph and line numbers from the current Modified Table of Organizational Equipment (MTOE) concept. Through an exercise called "faces to spaces" Soldiers are properly aligned with assigned duty positions.
Combined with help from the Department of the Army’s G3/5/7 offices and Department of the Army Management Office – Strategic Operations, nine major Army commands have received this training since it began.
“AOS is new to the Army,” said Maj. Kyle Luoma, IPPS-A Functional Data Analyst. “It’s an essential system for the success of IPPS-A. The first part of this campaign is getting the Active Component Force Management community to understand why they should care about it.”
IPPS-A is being fielding to all three Army Components in Dec. 2021. IPPS-A fielded successfully to the National Guard earlier this year.
The workshop lasts three hours and covers the Global Force Management Data Initiative, the integration between AOS and IPPS-A, differences between legacy system force structure data and AOS, and how AOS data structure enhances strength and personnel management.
The Global Force Management Data Initiative sets the standard for the way data is organized and shared from AOS to IPPS-A.
“In the legacy processes, you could double slot people in the same position or assign them to organizations without positions,” said Luoma. “That’s no longer possible, so the Army has to learn how to manage the structure, including authorized and temporary positions, in the AOS to facilitate that new requirement.”
The remaining topics discussed in the workshop are to help make clear the “bigger picture” said Luoma. Part of that bigger picture is helping attendees understand how the Army’s new approach to data allows the Army to see itself with much finer detail and through many different perspectives, according to Luoma.
The Global Force Management Data Initiative data construct introduces a much higher level of detail by establishing unique identifiers for just about everything including individual billets (positions), relationships between those billets and organizations, and relationships between other organizations.
There are also multiple different types of relationships expressed with this data construct---synonymous with different command relationships between organizations like Administrative Control (ADCON), Operational Control (OPCON) and Tactical Control (TACON).
“Currently the Army has information about those relationships stored in written orders, disparate databases, on people’s desktops, sharepoints, etc. across the Army,” said Luoma. “The AOS is a single source of authoritative data about those relationships at every level. It’s really a huge leap forward in our ability to see ourselves consistently, correctly and precisely.”
According to Luoma, the reaction to the workshops has been very positive. ”Once they see how user friendly AOS is, they start to change their tune,” Luoma said.
“When we show them that managing and aligning temporary billets is a drag-and-drop process, they actually start getting excited about the possibilities that AOS provides them,” said Luoma.
The goal is to begin the next phase of the training this summer through distributed learning, Microsoft teams, Defense Collaboration Services and phone bridges. Round two will be tailored to the needs of individual commands, said Luoma. Now that they have received the initial brief, Luoma said commands are now taking this information and integrating it into their organizations and staffs.
“Commands have the responsibility to ensure that a subset of information in the AOS is correct including location data, certain relationships between units, and the availability of temporary billets (templets) to handle over strength, students, trainees, etc.” said Luoma. “In order to do that, command staffs need to identify folks in their organizations who will be responsible for both making those edits to the structure as well as for validating the changes and publishing to the main AOS for all to see. Our recommendation is that commands retain both edit and validation privileges at the highest level to start, until they become proficient at managing the system, then they can make decisions to delegate, as necessary, to sub command force management and personnel management staffs.”
To prepare for Release 3, Active Army organizations need to ensure accurate data in the Authoritative Data Source (AOS) prior to conversation. They also need to review, edit, update and correct personal HR data (DMDC, eMILPO SRB, and ATRRS Transcript). More information can be found in FRAGO 5 which will be released in June 2020.