Official: DOD HR system on track for late 2008

The Business Transformation Agency (BTA) is on track for fielding the Pentagon’s new and long-delayed personnel and pay system for the Army by the end of 2008, BTA Director David Fisher said today.

The system will, for the first time, integrate personnel and pay databases so disparate that soldiers had to deal with pay inaccuracies in the past, Fisher said during a panel discussion sponsored by Government Executive magazine.

In 2005, Pentagon officials considered canceling the Defense Integrated Military Human Resources System (DIMHRS), conceived in the mid-1990s, because “everything that could go wrong in an [information technology] system went wrong,” Fisher said.

But after senior Defense Department leaders gave the former BearingPoint executive 30 days to review the system’s problems, Fisher recommended moving ahead with it.

The integration of previously separate databases represents a “huge mind shift” at DOD, Fisher said. He added that DIMHRS will always be high risk, in part because of its size.

After fielding the system for the Army, BTA will deploy it for the Air Force immediately, Fisher said.

The Pentagon has resisted efforts to tweak the DIMHRS code to its own specifications, which means the application will be a true commercial system, he said. At the same time, DOD still has a tendency to leave some functionality untapped in enterprise-level systems to retain a number of existing applications, he said.

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