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White House Warns Senate Plans Could Undermine Army’s New Personnel System

Washington Report

The Trump administration is warning Senate leaders that their version of the annual defense policy bill could derail rollout of the Army’s new talent management system.

Army officials intend to deploy the Integrated Personnel and Pay System–Army (IPPS-A) across the service — active, Guard and Reserve. One million soldiers would then be in a single personnel system for the first time.

Officials have said the system will improve transparency and access to soldier records and personnel actions and enable commanders a better way to identify the talents of their troops.

But in a letter to Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, the White House said a proposed $143 million cut in research and development funding in the fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act jeopardizes those plans.

It said the reduction would “effectively eliminate IPPS-A for approximately 680,000 soldiers serving in the Regular Army and Reserves and would put the Army’s number one personnel modernization effort … at significant risk.”

Russell Vought, the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget sent the letter, which includes of other objections with the Senate version of the annual defense policy bill. They include provisions aimed at creating a Space Force as a component of the Air Force rather than a separate military branch and a provision that would ban firefighting foam using PFAS chemicals.

IPPS-A was introduced first in the Pennsylvania National Guard earlier this year. Officials now say they have rolled out the program in nine states, with plans to be in 27 by the end of the year.

IPPS-A is expected to be fully deployed across the Army Guard by early 2020. Eventually, the system will standardize and reduce more than 200 human resources and pay systems that are being used across the Army’s three components.

Guardsmen have had a unique role in the implementation, providing feedback to developers and working closely with active-duty counterparts that will eventually field the new system.

But White House officials said that may be in jeopardy.

“The legislation would drastically impair the Army’s ability to field IPPS-A to the Army Reserve and Active Duty, significantly undermining the Army’s efforts to transform its force, and places efforts to achieve auditability at risk,” officials said.