People First: IPPS-A Celebrates Soldier During Pride Month
U.S. Army Lt. Col. Adam Hackel poses for his official portrait in the Army portrait studio at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., March 2, 2020. (U.S. Army photo by Monica King) (Photo Credit: Monica King) VIEW ORIGINAL

ARLINGTON, Va. – June marks Pride Month, a nationwide U.S. Department of Defense observance recognizing the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and questioning (LGBTQ) individuals. In honor of Pride Month, the Integrated Personnel and Pay System - Army (IPPS-A) recognizes Lt. Col. Adam Hackel.

IPPS-A is an online system that will provide integrated personnel and pay capabilities and a comprehensive human resources (HR) record for more than 1.1 million Soldiers in all components. Hackel joined the program in December 2018 and helmed the communication team during the final push to field Release 2 of the system to all 54 states and territories. He is one of the few senior ranking U.S. Army Reserve (USAR) field-grade officers on the program and has been a key voice at the table representing the USAR in policy discussions and communications planning.

Hackel’s career in the military began close at home. His father had fought in World War II as a Marine and had been in one of the war’s bloodiest military campaigns, the Battle of Iwo Jima. Knowing he wanted be like his dad, Hackel decided to join the Army.

Hackel enlisted in 1994 right as the government implemented the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy. At a young age, Hackel knew he was gay. He also knew that joining the Army meant concealing that part of himself. Despite this, he never took off his uniform. He knew that if he left there would be one less voice in the Army advocating for the LGBTQ community.

This commitment to supporting the best of Army culture passionately drove him to rise to the rank of lieutenant colonel. During the intervening years American culture changed, and “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” was repealed. When Hackel took command of his first battalion in 2012, he proudly brought his husband and their daughter to the ceremony.

“Since then, I’ve commanded two other battalions,” Hackel said. “Each time, my family is an integral part of the command process, just like anyone else’s family would be.”

Hackel assumed his role in IPPS-A nearly a year and a half before the system went live across the Army National Guard (ARNG). With the program focused on fielding and building the system to the ARNG, he advocated that the system needed to fulfill requirements specific to each component of the Army.

“My job has been to make sure the director’s message is getting to those who need it in the proper time frame,” Hackel said. “It’s critical to the success of our program to make sure we understand our stakeholders and their complexities. I feel like one of the best things I brought to the program as a reservist is the ability to speak up for the equities of the USAR during meetings with IPPS-A leaders.”

Hackel has been able to use his position to share lessons learned and best practices to ensure a smooth transition for the U.S. Army Reserve. As he moves on to his next assignment commanding the 4th Battalion, 80th Training Regiment, he is grateful that he’s been part of a program that will have such a lasting impact on the Army and for yet another opportunity to work closely with and to mentor Soldiers.

Hackel is honored to be able to work every day to improve diversity, equity and inclusion across the force and build cohesive teams. The Army is an organization that puts people first by fostering a culture of trust that accepts the experiences and backgrounds of every Soldier and civilian. He hopes his unique perspective can open doors for those looking to serve or currently serving.

“The single most important thing to me has always been making the situation better for others,” he said. “I hope that a handful of LGBTQ kids will look at me and say the future is absolutely a possibility, and that’s the most important thing to me is providing that hope.”