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Air Force wants new human-resources system

By Staff Sgt. C. Todd Lopez

WASHINGTON (April 02, 2004) -- In testimony before Congress on March 31, the Air Force chief information officer said the service would like to accelerate development of a new joint personnel system.

Air Force Chief Information Officer John M. Gilligan told members of the House Armed Services Committee subcommittee on terrorism, unconventional threats and capabilities, that the service supports accelerating the Defense Integrated Military Human-Resource System by as much as two years.

"What we are trying to do is to accelerate our implementation of (the system)," Mr. Gilligan said. "It was previously scheduled for 2007. We would like it to be in 2005, if possible."

The system is a commercially developed software system that will replace older personnel and pay computer applications in the Department of Defense and in the component services, he said.

For instance, it will eventually replace the Defense Finance and Accounting Service's Defense Joint Military Pay System -- the application responsible for handling pay for all military members. The new system will also replace the Military Personnel Data System, an Air Force human resources system.

The system will provide information about all servicemembers to senior leaders, including duty status, current location, readiness status, pay grade, and information and projections on promotion. Essentially, the new system will not just replace old applications, but combine them. It is that synergy the Air Force is most interested in, Mr. Gilligan told committee members.

"(Intergrating) pay and personnel is very important to us," Mr. Gilligan said. "Today we don't have an integrated pay and personnel system in the Air Force. DFAS provides the pay system; we provide the personnel system. There are a lot of problems at that interface."

Mr. Gilligan stressed that the new system will not do everything that was done by the systems it is likely to replace. Instead it will provide the most common human resources and pay functions to all services. While it is possible the system could expand allowing more functionality, Air Force officials are interested in seeing it fielded sooner rather than later, he said.

"We are in a position where today we do not want to delay (it)," Mr. Gilligan said. "If expanding (the system) would cause it to be delayed, we don't vote for that. We are not anxious to do is see it delayed any further.