ST. LOUIS, Mo. (Army News Service, Feb. 7, 2008) -- The Adjutant General combined Army Reserve personnel actions and services, previously under Human Resources Command-St. Louis, with the office that handles personnel actions for the Active Army, effective Feb. 1.

Until now, the Adjutant General Directorate under HRC-Alexandria in northern Virginia has handled personnel matters strictly for the Active Army, while HRC-St. Louis' Personnel Actions and Services Directorate handled personnel matters for the Army Reserve.

To "build a better mousetrap," TAG has integrated with PASD, officials said. In other words, PASD moved from the supervision of the HRC-STL commander to the supervision of TAGD Feb. 1.

The PASD-TAGD merger will be "seamless, transparent," said Col. Jorge Fernandez, the PASD director.

The customer will continue to call or write the same human resources, or HR, specialists for support. For leadership, there will be a change: Questions or comments about leadership support should go to the Adjutant General instead of HRC-St. Louis.

PASD isn't the first thing to be integrated with HRC-A. Promotions and Evaluations were previously two of the largest realignments.

There is now one officer and enlisted evaluation system for all three components, one evaluation processing office, and one Secretariat operating the Army's promotion and selection boards. All of these are under the leadership of the Adjutant General of the Army.

<b>What does it all mean'</b>

HRC-St. Louis is transferring control of PASD to The Adjutant General Directorate. Active and Reserve processes are being merged into one unified process under the supervision of TAG in Alexandria, Va. These will include

* awards;

* identification cards;

* Army continuing education;

* casualty and mortuary affairs;

* Reserve Component (non-AGR) Retirements;

* education incentives; and

* Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, or DEERS. (The St. Louis branch will handle the active and Reserve with the exception of the Army National Guard.)

"We're kind of the MILPO for the IRR," said PASD's deputy director Dennis Mikale, referring to the Individual Ready Reserve.

The merger enhances both the support that HRC provides to an Army at war by meeting Army and individual Soldier needs, officials said. This latest merger is another step in a very deliberate process, the end result of which is the establishment of a Human Resources Center of Excellence at Fort Knox, Ky., by 2011. HRCoE's creation was mandated by the base realignment and closure, or BRAC, legislation in 2005.

"We're prepared to consolidate at Knox. We want to do this before we go to Knox because at Knox we'll be initially preoccupied with finding our desks, and finding out how our phone works," Mikale said with a smile. "We want to make all this transparent (for the Soldiers). They really shouldn't care where services are coming from as long as they can get the service."

There are a few areas that have no counterparts at TAGD, including

* 60-year Reserve retirement letters and

* veterans inquiries.

"We seem to talk a lot about the difference between 'we' and 'they.' We're giving the Active Component insight into the Reserves' unique problems, and we've gained insight into the Active Component," Mikale said. "It's a work in progress, but I feel pretty confident about it."

Before the PASD-TAGD merger, Col. Steve Shappell, the deputy director of The Adjutant General Directorate, sent his people to St. Louis for hands-on visits. The trips from Alexandria were worth it, Shappell said, because they sat with the "worker bees" to get a real feeling for how the processes work.

Already people in Awards, DEERS and Casualty have been out to St. Louis, and there have been video teleconferences, or VTCs, with others. St. Louis has also sent people to the Washington, D.C., area to meet with the people at TAGD.

"It's a win-win situation," Mikale said. "It's going to take some work, but we want to make services faster, more efficient and transparent for the government and for the Soldier."

(Andrea Wales serves with the U.S. Army Human Resources Command-St. Louis Public Affairs Office.)