Checked into Spawar's fold
- By Bill Murray
- Dec 03, 2000
Naval Reserve Information Systems Office
The Navy moved the Naval Reserve Information Systems Office under the umbrella
of a major systems command last week and, in doing so, intends to give it
more budgetary clout and help the reserve reduce the number of legacy systems
The newly named Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command's Information
Technology Center (Spawar ITC) manages two major programs that are part
of the Navy and Defense Department's attempts to maintain standard personnel
systems: the Defense Integrated Military Human Resources System and the
Navy Standard Integrated Personnel System (NSIPS).
Spawar ITC maintains "dozens" of legacy systems for payroll, personnel
tracking and order taking, said Rear Adm. John Gauss, Spawar commander,
after the Nov. 30 change-of-command ceremony in New Orleans. He wants ITC
officials to reduce that number and also improve system performance.
Sailors need to know that their families are being paid on time while
they're deployed, that they will receive job orders on time and that their
personnel records are up-to-date, Gauss said.
By most accounts, the existing payroll system for naval reservists could
use improvement. "The system [stinks]," said Lt. Thomas Sliski, a Naval
Reserve recruiter at the Marine Corps and Navy's Anacostia Annex in Washington,
D.C. "You can go to any Naval Reserve installation, and they'll tell you
the same thing."
Sliski said he and other reservists called to active duty had to deposit
their paychecks manually rather than through electronic funds transfer.
Sliski said such problems wear down reservists' morale.
Some reservists called to active duty for the Persian Gulf War also
had difficulty getting credit for their service and getting returned to
their reserve detachments, according to the Web site of the undersecretary
of Defense for personnel and readiness.
For its part, NSIPS hasn't made much progress as a major system since
its approval in May 1997 at the concept level by the Major Automated Information
System Review Council, an office within DOD. Spawar ITC officials have used
relational database management system software by Oracle Corp., as well
as applications software by Oracle and Peoplesoft Inc., but the system has
had glitches, said Lt. John Filostrat, a Naval Reserve spokesman in New
During a speech last month in San Diego, Naval Reserve Rear Adm. Casey
Coane, special assistant to the director of the Chief of Naval Operations'
Space, Information Warfare, Command and Control Directorate, admitted the
Naval Reserve's business systems suffer from neglect. The system to deliver
orders to reservists, for example, is "two years behind" where it should
be, and Spawar ITC officials finally decided recently to adopt the Marines'
order-writing system, he said.
"We would like to e-mail reservists their orders," said Joyce Lynn Davis,
project manager for the order-writing system at Spawar ITC. Under the Navy
Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) program, reservists will receive 80,000 "seats"
with Internet access, something currently not available to all of them.
Under its former command, Spawar ITC increased its personnel 10 times — to 1,300 people including contractors — in less than four years, said
Lt. Cmdr. Greg Geisen, a Spawar spokesman. Its budget has tripled in three
years, though Gauss wouldn't release details about the ITC budget.
As ITC has grown and taken on maintenance of more homegrown mainframe,
PC and Unix systems, officials have been forced to maintain the systems
without integrating them, Geisen said. And because DOD officials who maintain
them were afraid to make mistakes, they usually adopted conservative policies
on systems management.
Although Spawar ITC is currently forcing some reservists to deal with
paper-based paychecks, thousands of Marines and Defense Finance and Accounting
Service personnel can check their payroll information through a Web-based
system and even make address and payroll deduction changes in some cases.
Navy officials plan to build Web-based capabilities into NSIPS and other
systems by 2002, when NMCI is deployed to the fleet. NMCI will give Spawar
ITC's programs the long-haul network they need to deliver password-protected
Web-based content, Geisen said.
Gauss said he hadn't looked closely at any of Spawar ITC's systems yet.
Military payroll systems have specific business rules that need to be written
into the software, so the organization's contractors will continue to write
customized packages, he said.Spawar links