Army now has one IT system for all pay, personnel functions | Federal News Network (2023)

After a decade of planning, years of development, multiple delays and more than $1 billion in spending, the Army crossed a huge milestone in modernizing its HR systems last week: The Integrated Personnel and Pay System-Army (IPPS-A) went live for its entire population of 1.1 million soldiers.

The National Guard has been using IPPS-A since 2020, but last week’s rollout marks the first time the Guard, the reserve and the active duty Army have been...


After a decade of planning, years of development, multiple delays and more than $1 billion in spending, the Army crossed a huge milestone in modernizing its HR systems last week: The Integrated Personnel and Pay System-Army (IPPS-A) went live for its entire population of 1.1 million soldiers.

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The National Guard has been using IPPS-A since 2020, but last week’s rollout marks the first time the Guard, the reserve and the active duty Army have been on the same IT system for both their pay and their personnel functions.

The Army has been talking about what eventually became IPPS-A for at least a decade, and formal development work has been underway since 2015, when the Army awarded its first major contract for the system. All along, the goal has been to consolidate dozens of separate, sometimes highly-localized IT systems and paper-based business processes into one electronic system, giving each soldier a single electronic HR record that follows them throughout their career.

“And it allows us to do a whole bunch of other things: we can start managing people by their knowledge, skills, behavior and preferences, and we can move from an industrial-age personnel management system to a 21st century talent management system,” Gen. James McConville, the Army chief of staff told a forum organized by the Association of the United States Army last week. “We’ll be in a much better place to get the right people in the right place at the right time, but all these things are hard. If it was easy, it would have been done a long time ago.”

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Besides giving the overall Army better insights into all the data it holds about each individual soldier, the system’s meant to give soldiers themselves more insights into what the Army knows — or thinks it knows — about them.

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Sgt. Maj. Gary Krese, the senior enlisted advisor for IPPS-A’s functional management division, said having all pay and personnel functions in a single, modern system with self-service capabilities will let soldiers see where each of the transactions that affect their careers, or their paychecks, currently stand.

“We’re all familiar with those unfortunate stories about lost personnel action requests and untimely records updates, and the system provides much-needed efficiency, transparency and accountability,” he said. “Soldiers now have the ability to view their own records, view their own personnel actions, including with a mobile app. Sometimes when you submit those personnel actions or records updates, you don’t really know where they are in the process, and that can make a soldier or their family uneasy. We really do believe the days of lost blue folders are gone.”

All that said, Army officials say they’re clear-eyed about the fact that there are going to be growing pains, especially in the first few months. To launch the current version — Release 3 — the Army and its vendors had to consolidate and translate data from numerous legacy systems.

Col. Rebecca Eggers, the functional management division’s director, said the Army worked hard to ensure all that data made a clean transition, but it’s a near certainty that there are problems that weren’t caught during the data migration process.

“It’s a bit different than some of our other software systems in that we’re not simply replacing a system one-for-one with IPPS-A,” she said. “We’ve taken multiple systems across the components and combined their data into one, and in many cases, we’ve taken multiple data fields from all of those systems and put them into a single data field. And to further complicate things, soldiers could have bad records in multiple legacy systems. We had to sort through all of that. We’re seeing that some of the data still might not be quite right, and we are committed to making those corrections as soon as we find them.”

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Officials initially planned to roll IPPS-A out to the entire Army in December 2021. But as the date approached, leaders decided they needed another nine months to ensure the system was ready for prime time. Then, last October, they announced that the full deployment would be delayed by several more months. “Stress tests” and soldier feedback revealed more problems that needed to be solved, they said.

But eventually, just before the Christmas holiday, the Army deployed the current release to its HR workforce so that they could begin familiarizing themselves with the system, and record personnel events that happened during a six-week “brownout” period between the shutdown of the legacy systems and the full spin-up of IPPS-A.

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Eggers said that work was almost entirely completed prior to the system’s full deployment last week.

“When we were getting ready for the brownout, we provided a guide for HR professionals on what we call the priorities of work: the transactions that we knew would have to be done first in order to make sure that the system was ready for things like promotion processes that automatically run, or arrivals and departures of soldiers,” she said. “The scale of that work really depended on the unit.”

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And for the HR workforce, aside from learning new processes and working out kinks related to data quality and system performance, IPPS-A raises some longer term questions about their day-to-day work roles.

Under the legacy systems, for example, they spent a not-insignificant amount of time manually transferring data from one system to another and keeping track of paper. IPPS-A, in theory, will render a lot of those tasks obsolete.

For now, the Army’s not quite sure what the HR workforce implications will be, other than that it would be premature to make decisions about downsizing the workforce. Officials think the most likely outcome is that they’ll need a similarly-sized workforce, but made up of people using different skillsets.

“I think we can utilize IPPS-A as a starting point to envision our HR professionals not being reactive, but being proactive,” said Lt. Gen. Douglas Stitt, the Army’s deputy chief of staff for personnel. “That’s because we don’t have to go out and find the data — we have the data. So now, we can better anticipate a commander’s decision. We can answer questions like how many people we have in formation on-the-spot, but also, we can get into details of who makes up that formation, what kind of skills they have. You can start to envision driving some of the commander’s decisions from a more proactive position, instead of the potentially reactive environment that we’re in right now.”

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What systems is Ippsa replacing? ›

How Does IPPS-A Impact the ARNG? IPPS-A will replace Standard Installation/Division Personnel System (SIDPERS) and subsume functionality of other legacy systems to serve as a single resource that leverages authoritative data.

What is the Army integrated personnel and pay system? ›

The Integrated Personnel and Pay System-Army (IPPS-A), an online Human Resources (HR) PeopleSoft (9.2) solution, is the vehicle that will allow the Army to transform from an industrial age personnel system to a 21st Century talent management system.

What is the Army Brownout? ›

Brownout is the shutting-down of legacy systems identified to be subsumed by or converted into IPPS-A R3. Servicemember records will be converted for use in IPPS-A R3. Brownout precedes the start of and sets conditions for Cutover.

What is Ippsa active duty? ›

IPPS-A is an online HR system that will enable personnel transactions to automatically trigger pay and provide a comprehensive HR record for all Soldiers in each component. In addition, Soldiers will have access to their own personal information 24 hours a day and mobile self-service capabilities.

Will Ippsa replace iPERMS? ›

IPPS-A will serve as the authoritative data source for all personnel transactions within the system. Interactive Personnel Electronics Records Management System (iPERMS) will not be subsumed by IPPS-A, and it will not be affected during the IPPS-A transition (brownout and cutover).

What HR systems does the Army use? ›

Army Human Resource Systems (AHRS) provides installation and field commanders worldwide with essential, state-of-the-art, cost-effective and standardized, knowledge-based automation tools.

Does the Army use ADP? ›

ADP 1 and ADP 3-0, Operations, are the two Army capstone doctrinal manuals that serve as the foundation of our professional body of knowledge.

What is ESA Army? ›

ETS is the completion date of Enlisted Soldier's contract; ESA is the completion date of Officer's commitment. Soldiers may pick up copies of their orders from their unit personnel office, which will be distributed upon completion of a pre-separation briefing.

What is Army ETP? ›

Army Education Counselors can advise on classes to take and selection of an educational institution (EI). 2. Soldiers will receive instructions about requesting exception to policy (ETP) TA at their Army Education Center. See FAQ B below for more information about the ETP process.

What replaced the Arforgen cycle? ›

ARFORGEN, as a Force Readiness policy, is now replaced by SR which enables the Military Force Operation of Force Generation.

What replaced the Army Security Agency? ›

In 1977, the ASA was merged with the US Army's Military Intelligence component to create the United States Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM).

Is IPPS a an ERP? ›

The IPPS-A Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software suite integrates over 1.1 million Soldiers into a multi-component (Active Army, Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve) personnel and pay system to deliver Total Force visibility to support Readiness, Talent Management and Auditability.

Does the Army still have LRS units? ›

Active Army Long Range Surveillance Units are assigned to their parent units military intelligence (MI) unit. Army National Guard Long Range Surveillance Units are assigned to their divisional cavalry squadrons.


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