WASHINGTON, D.C. —Soldiers and Department of the Army Civilians tuned into Microsoft Teams on Monday, Aug. 10, to hear Army leaders discuss Integrated Personnel Pay System-Army (IPPS-A), a new cutting-edge online Human Resources (HR) system that is modernizing the Army. In March 2020, the Army finished fielding Release 2 (R2) of the system to the entire National Guard. This briefing prepared all three Components for the immediate tasks necessary to support Release 3 (R3) fielding in 2021.
The Army’s current HR Information Technology consists of over 200 disparate HR and pay systems and over 650 interface and data exchanges between internal and external systems. This environment is labor-intensive and hampers Total Force Visibility.
IPPS-A helps solve these issues and many more by integrating personnel, pay, and talent management capabilities into a single system for all three Army components and over one million service members. The system will ultimately standardize business practices across the Army, improve transparency and access to Soldier records and personnel actions, and will be fully auditable.
“We are moving out of the industrial age into the information age, as it pertains to Human Resources management, and it allows us to manage talent like we never have before in the United States Army,” Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, Gen. Joseph M. Martin, said.
IPPS-A Release 3 (R3) will introduce the Army’s active and Reserve components to the system. R3 is now more than 90 percent built and on track to go-live in Dec. 2021. However, the effort will not stop there. Over the next decade, the Army plans to roll out more system capabilities.
“There is a good game plan to continuously upgrade this program’s capability for the warfighter and for Commanders to continue to enhance their efficiencies in HR, talent management, and pay,” IPPS-A’s Functional Management Division Chief, Col. Gregory S. Johnson, said.
During the brief, Col. Johnson discussed how IPPS-A R2 had already proved successful and agile. He gave the mobilization efforts for COVID-19 in April as an example. The system was used by leaders to quickly assess their formations, as well as the status of their Soldiers, and the mission they were supporting.
He also highlighted a few unique features from R2 and upcoming ones in R3. First, he noted that Soldiers, HR Professionals, and Commanders will all have access to IPPS-A 24 hours a day and will be able to access it from either a government or commercial domain. He also discussed IPPS-A’s mobile capabilities, which are currently available to the National Guard as part of R2.
The mobile app gives Soldiers, Commanders, and HR Professionals access to the system on the go and is loaded with self-service functions, including alerts and notifications on all HR actions. So far, the app has over 14,000 downloads and is on the "highest-rated" app list for TRADOC. The Reserve and Active components will have access to the app in Dec. 2021, when R3 goes live.
An area of particular interest for participants was the 25 Point Profile, a talent management feature that displays details about Soldiers’ knowledge, skills, behaviors, experience, and readiness. The feature will provide a more holistic talent profile for each Soldier and will help the Army make better-informed talent decisions.
“You will be able to understand your Soldier’s talents in a way you can’t do in our current systems,” Col Johnson said.
As the R3 go-live approaches, knowing how to use the system and its additional capabilities is imperative. IPPS-A’s Project Manager Col. Robert M. Williams addressed the training strategy the program has implemented for HR Professionals, Soldiers, and Commanders.
Virtual training for IPPS-A R3 will begin in May 2021 and will continue through Nov. 2021. Col. Williams said the program has implemented a train-the-trainer approach. Starting next summer, representatives from the program will visit 32 different locations and train over 1,700 HR Professionals who will, in turn, train an additional 46,000 HR Professionals.
Beginning next June, the program will require Commanders to complete a one-hour online training course and will also provide an optional one-hour training course for Soldiers.
In addition to these training sessions, the program has also formed HR Transformation Working Groups to outline changing organizational roles, responsibilities, and business processes in R3. The program will create training materials and plans to organize summits at the beginning of 2021 to explain how these changes will work.
As the Army prepares for IPPS-A R3, both Col. Johnson and Col. Williams emphasized the importance of data correctness. To ensure a seamless records’ transition to IPPS-A, Soldiers and units need to begin updating and correcting their personal and personnel records. Incorrect records could result in late pay or even delayed promotions.
“Bad data at the speed of light will still be bad data,” Col. Williams said.
FRAGO 5, which was released on July 14, 2020, and is available on milSuite, contains detailed guidance on what Soldiers, units, and HR Professionals from each component need to do to update their data.
At the close of the brief, the U.S. Army’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, Lt. Gen. Gary M. Brito, also reiterated the importance of data correctness. He said that the program would need the help of Soldiers and their units to truly ensure IPPS-A’s success.