4 Things Every Soldier Should Know About The Army's New Mobile Pay System

 Pennsylvania National Guard members are escorted by emergency responders to the Horry County emergency operations center in Conway, South Carolina, on Sept. 17, 2018, after Hurricane Florence. Pennsylvania National Guardsmen will be the first to see the Army's new mobile pay system roll out. Photo by Capt. Travis Mueller/Pennsylvania National Guard
Pennsylvania National Guard members are escorted by emergency responders to the Horry County emergency operations center in Conway, South Carolina, on Sept. 17, 2018, after Hurricane Florence. Pennsylvania National Guardsmen will be the first to see the Army's new mobile pay system roll out. Photo by Capt. Travis Mueller/Pennsylvania National Guard

The Army is moving its pay and personnel-management system onto a smartphone-friendly platform that leaders hope will drastically cut the number of payroll errors soldiers' find in their paychecks.

The service's new Integrated Personnel and Pay System, or IPPS-A, will debut early next year, officials said Monday at the 2018 Association of the United States Army's Annual Meeting and Exhibition.

National Guard units will be the first to use the system before it's rolled out to the active-duty and Reserve forces in 2020.

The system will give soldiers more visibility on their personnel records, said Col. Gregory Johnson, IPPS-A's chief of functional management. That level of transparency is long overdue, he added.

"You can't keep treating soldiers like we're in the 1950s," he said. "... We allow soldiers to deploy and make life-and-death decisions, but we don't let them see what's going on with their personnel records. It's time to change."

Here are four things every soldier should know about the new personnel and pay systems:

1. Who gets it and when? Pennsylvania National Guardsmen will be the first to see the Army's new smartphone-friendly pay system roll out in January. Guard members in Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia can expect to start using it later that month. The North Dakota National Guard will be the last to get it in September 2019.

Active-duty and Reserve soldiers are likely to start using IPPS-A starting in 2020. Once it has rolled out to the entire force, leaders will continue making changes and improvements to the system, Johnson said.

2. It should curb pay problems. Up to 10 percent of the Army's troops report dealing with pay problems at any given time, said Col. Darby McNulty, IPPS-A's project manager. Soldiers might switch duty stations or deploy, but their paychecks don't always reflect the change.

Tying personnel and pay files together should help alleviate many of those problems, Johnson said.

"There's a complete air gap between your pay and your [human resources] systems," he said. "IPPS-A's going to solve that; it's going to bring it together. If you update the duty status or location of a soldier, it automatically updates the pay."

3. It consolidates hundreds of programs. The Army currently maintains more than 200 human resources and pay systems, McNulty said. That means running a seemingly simple report, say to see how many female captains there are across the entire force, can take weeks.

This will eliminate different systems used by officers, enlisted soldiers, National Guard or Reserve units, and pull everything into one database, he said.

4. It's a talent-management system. Commanders will be able to use IPPS-A to see the skill sets of soldiers in their units by viewing a new 25-point profile on every individual, Johnson said.

"You're going to find out a whole heck of a lot about soldiers you have no clue about today," he said. "People have talents, and the Army has no idea."

-- Gina Harkins can be reached at gina.harkins@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @ginaaharkins.

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