Navy to use DIMHRS

The Navy and Marine Corps will move to the Defense Integrated Military Human Resources Systems (DIMHRS) after all -- but no one is sure when.

Defense Department Deputy Secretary Gordon England and Navy Secretary Donald Winter decided within the past month that the pay and personnel system that the Army and Air Force will implement in the next two years will work for the Navy, too.

“We received a commitment from the Navy to go to DIMHRS, but we still have to work out when and how it slots in with the rest of DOD,” said Beth McGrath, Beth McGrath, principal assistant deputy under secretary of defense, Office of Business Transformation. “It was a huge step to get their commitment.”

The Army will begin implementing DIMHRS by Oct. 1, 2008, while the Air Force will begin using the system by Feb. 1, 2009.

The Navy decided in spring 2006 to move to the Marine Corps Total Force System. But Congress stopped that migration in the fiscal 2007 Defense Authorization Act by requiring England, chairman of the Defense Business Systems Management Committee, to certify to the congressional defense committees that choosing the system would be in DOD’s best interest.

After meeting in early September, England and Winter decided to move forward with DIMHRS, which is BTA’s highest priority in 2008.

“There are 27 information technology programs in BTA’s portfolio, but DIMHRS is the top one,” said David Fisher, BTA director. “DOD spends 50 percent of its transformation dollars on enterprise resource planning initiatives, such as DIMHRS so our focus is on all of these.”

The military has 12 ERP programs in progress, including two at BTA: DIMHRS and the Defense Agencies Initiative, which is a financial management system for all defense agencies and field offices.

DOD spent a little less than $1.1 billion this year on ERP system development, and officials expect that number to rise by about $100 million in each of the next two years, according to the BTA’s 2007 Enterprise Transition Plan submitted to Congress Sept. 28.

BTA submits reports on its progress to Congress twice a year. This is the third year it has been required to update lawmakers on their progress.

“After two and a half years of forward momentum, we are in the stretch run with the administration,” said Paul Brinkley, deputy undersecretary of Defense for business transformation. “We’ve gotten solid support from Congress, GAO and the statutory structure, and we’ve made continuous improvement that will be sustained into the next administration.”

In the past year, BTA completed 81 percent of its 282 milestones focused on improving the efficiency of DOD’s business systems.

“In some cases, we moved policy or system deliveries, and some were not at the system level,” Fisher said. “For the ones we didn’t meet, we said why and what course of action we will take going forward. In some cases, we dropped the milestone as a matter of a management decision.”

Fisher could not recall any major milestone BTA didn’t meet and said he was pleased with the progress.

“We want to be aggressive with our milestones,” he said. “If we only set milestones we can make, we are not being aggressive enough.”

Brinkley added that the goal is not just to complete milestones but to change the culture so it is one of success.

“Every six months we want to achieve something,” he said.

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