Pentagon deploys massive personnel and pay system

The Defense Department has finished setting up a massive computer system to handle pay, benefits and personnel records for the more than 800,000 civilians that work for the department worldwide, according to Pentagon officials.

Human resources specialists and managers at all Defense, Army, Air Force and Navy regional personnel centers and local HR offices at bases and installations around the world will use the new system, called the Modern Defense Civilian Personnel Data System. DoD officials have been installing the new system since 1999. It replaces 10 systems previously used for human resources actions.

"Within the federal employment system, there are numerous actions required to hire, promote and pay employees," Pentagon officials said in a written response to questions about the system. "This system automates all of those actions. Upon being hired, an electronic record is created for each employee. This record maintains a history of all of these actions and that history is used to determine other benefits associated with federal employment including access to health benefits, vacation time and retirement."

The officials said the Defense Department spent $196 million to develop and deploy the new system. They said the system would save about $200 million per year for 15 years.

The new system is part of a larger effort that the Pentagon kicked off in 1993 to consolidate and streamline Defense agencies' and military services' human resources offices. The effort aimed to put about 60 percent of human resources work into regional centers, leaving about 40 percent in local human resources offices. In 1994, there was a 1 to 60 ratio of personnel specialists to civilian personnel. Through regionalization and systems modernization, the Pentagon hopes to increase the ratio to 1 personnel specialist for every 100 civilian personnel.

Lockheed Martin and Oracle are the main contractors for the system. Lockheed Martin, which has worked on the system since 1999, has a contract to provide customer support and maintenance for the system through 2007.

A June 2001 Defense Department inspector general review of the Defense Civilian Personnel Data System said the Pentagon originally planned to finish fielding the system by 1998.

An IG report issued last month concluded that human resources efficiency still varies widely at Defense.

The IG reviewed two regional personnel offices, one run by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, the other by the department's Washington Headquarters Services. Both use the new personnel system. But the Defense Finance and Accounting Service was able to provide lists of job candidates to managers in less than 13 days more than 95 percent of the time, while Washington Headquarters Services took more than 20 days 63 percent of the time.

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