By David VergunMarch 13, 2013
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, March 13, 2013) -- As the Army draws down, it's important for Soldiers to keep their records up-to-date and accurate, personnel officials said.
Army leaders use Official Military Personnel Files for decisions on promotions, assignments, professional development and retention, explain officials from the Army's Human Resources Command, or HRC.
It is ultimately the Soldiers' responsibility to review their records at least once a year, said Maj. Jonathan Holland, chief, Integration Branch and Capt. Mike Skiff, promotions board recorder.
Now more than ever, records accuracy is important, said Holland. Soldiers whose records are not accurate are at risk for separation or early retirement.
Holland said that during the adjutant general's board of directors meeting last August, the topic of records accuracy was discussed and the senior Adjutant General Corps leadership decided to institute the Soldier Record Accuracy Campaign to elevate awareness and make this a priority within the chain of command.
Although records accuracy is primarily the individual Soldier's responsibility, it is also the responsibility of noncommissioned officers and officers to ensure their Soldiers are monitoring their records, he said. Holland emphasized the importance of getting Soldiers the right assistance if information needs to be updated or changed.
HRC has noticed routine errors in things like Soldiers' mailing addresses, awards, assignment history, overseas service, deployment history and dwell time back from deployment, Holland said.
Errors occur, he said, due to any number of factors, from missing supporting documents, incorrect or incomplete entries by personnel in S-1 or the installation's Military Personnel Division, to inaccuracies introduced by computers arising from glitches or time-lapse updates within the Interactive Personnel Electronic Records Management System.
He explained that time lapses vary from system to system with some computers updating information 24 hours after entry to maybe 72 hours. That is why Soldiers should double-check new data entries after a few days.
Maintaining accurate personnel records is also important because centralized promotion and selection boards review many of these records, said Skiff. Centralized promotion boards impact sergeants first class through sergeants major, chief warrant officers 3 through 5 and captains through major generals.
Skiff clarified that a useful tool for validating personnel records prior to a centralized promotion or selection board is the "My Board File" system. Individual Soldiers have the ability to view their board file and are encouraged to certify the accuracy of their board file prior to a centralized board. Since the board file is pulled from personnel records, Soldiers must ensure they are accurate, and make any necessary changes if they are not accurate.
Leaders also have the ability to track the board file certification status of Soldiers in their population who are going before a centralized selection board. The My Board File Certification Report, or MBF, allows leaders to track whether Soldiers in their formation have viewed and/or certified their board file prior to a centralized board.
The board file, drawn from personnel records, includes the Soldier's official photo, letters to the board from the Soldier, disciplinary or derogatory data, officer or NCO evaluation reports, academic evaluation reports, awards and decorations, military and civilian education and training records.
For all other ranks not using MBF, accuracy is still important because decentralized and semi-centralized selection boards will include reviews of personnel records.
Holland added that accurate record keeping is still in the best interest of Soldiers deciding to transition to civilian life because opportunities for veterans can be enhanced by potential employers seeing duties performed, training and education completed and combat service.
Soldiers can also use information in their personnel records to build resumes, he added.
Soldiers can access their OMPF through AKO or at https://iperms.hrc.army.mil/rms/record.
When using AKO Soldiers can find their OMPF under the "Army Links" heading on the lower right-hand side of the AKO main screen.
The My Board File Certification Report can be accessed on the HRC homepage at http://www.hrc.army.mil under Popular HRC Resources. The direct link is https://www.hrcapps.army.mil/IWS/?page_id=12928.
All links require a Common Access Card.