After postponing a systems changeover period in mid-August, Army human resources officials internally announced Thursday afternoon that the service’s new HR platform won’t launch on Sept. 20, as previously promised.
If you’re experiencing deja vu, that’s because this has happened before.
The Integrated Personnel and Pay System-Army — otherwise known as IPPS-A — was originally scheduled to go live across the entire Army in December 2021, before failed systems tests led senior leaders to order a nine-month delay.
But the extra time wasn’t enough, despite the Army declaring in May that they were on track, and officials acknowledged that there’s not a new release timeline in place following the latest delay.
Army Times reported Aug. 15 that another delay could occur after the service scuttled a scheduled shutdown of several older HR systems, with the IPPS-A functional management director acknowledging in a phone interview that a fully functional release wouldn’t be possible for Sept. 20.
An Army spokesperson reached via email Thursday confirmed the delay, but did not provide an additional statement.
An earlier version of IPPS-A is in place for the Army National Guard, but the newest — and now again delayed — release has been marketed as a watershed moment for personnel data and talent management across the service’s three components.
According to Col. Rebecca Eggers, the platform’s functional management director, the reason for the postponement is continued data communication issues between IPPS-A and other key systems.
In an August interview, she identified soldier onboarding links to the service’s recruiting personnel system and problems communicating with the Defense Manpower Data Center, which controls medical insurance and other benefits, as critical gaps in IPPS-A’s functionality.
Eggers said that most of the core HR functions in IPPS-A, such as awards, personnel requests and assignment transfers, currently work as intended. But senior leaders ultimately opted not to launch the mostly functional platform.
The contractor overseeing the systems integrations efforts, CACI International, has received more than $557 million over seven years for the project thus far.
According to trade paper Washington Technology and a GAO protest tracker, the Army extended the expiring contract by a decade over a competitor’s protest. That could see the contractor make an additional $500 million, bringing the platform’s potential price tag beyond $1 billion.
Once launched, IPPS-A is expected to put more transparency into personnel processes and help the service better understand the talent it has on hand.
One planned feature, the soldier talent profile, will help personnel managers consider more data — such as civilian work experience, hobbies and personality traits — when promoting and reassigning troops.
Davis Winkie covers the Army for Military Times. He studied history at Vanderbilt and UNC-Chapel Hill, and served five years in the Army Guard. His investigations earned the Society of Professional Journalists' 2023 Sunshine Award and consecutive Military Reporters and Editors honors, among others. Davis was also a 2022 Livingston Awards finalist.