Updated 30 Sep 2003

Image of Pentagon oval   United States Department of Defense
News Transcript

Presenter: Under Secretary of Defense David S.C. Chu
Monday, September 29, 2003

Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness David S.C. Chu Briefing

(Also participating;  Ms. Norma J. St. Claire, Director, Joint Requirements and Integration, OUSD(P&R); Mr. Steven Ehrler, DoN Program Executive Officer for Information Technology (PEO-IT); and Captain V.E. Carpenter, USN, Joint Program Manager.)



            COL. JAY DEFRANK (Defense Department spokesman):  Good afternoon. Today, we have an on-the-record briefing on a initiative -- a transformation initiative to combine the military pay and personnel system.  Dr. Chu will introduce the subject and the speakers, but unfortunately, Dr. Chu has a pressing appointment -- won't be able to stay for the entire briefing.  So, after he makes his introductions, he's going to leave and Ms. St. Claire will take over.


            MR. CHU:  Thank you, Colonel DeFrank.  We're here this afternoon, as you know, to announce the award and provide some background on the   DIMHRS contract.  DIMHRS, of course, is one of our wonderful Defense Department acronyms, distinguished by the fact it has a vowel in it -- (laughter) -- which is an achievement always -- but the Defense Integrated Military Human Resource System.


            And as some of you are aware, it is the product of a recommendation made in the mid-1990s by the Defense Science Board that the department ought to bring the pay and personnel systems together; there would be important improvements in how well both systems function as a result -- some savings as a result of that effort over the longer term it takes to sustain it.  The Marine Corps at that time did have an integrated pay and personnel system -- I think helped show the way for the department in this regard.  At the same time, it provides an opportunity for the department to provide everyone, most especially the combatant commanders, with much better visibility over what is ultimately the most important resource they have, and that is their people.


            Like all things of this sort, like any big software initiative, this does take time.  I think a great deal of credit goes to Norma St. Claire and her team, including Captain Carpenter, our program manager, for having brought us to this very important juncture, having got us through the milestone events, which the department shall use, as you all know, to govern these acquisitions.


            This is a big deal.  It's a big deal, I think, in terms of human resources software.  I'm told this is the largest application of the PeopleSoft suite in the world, if that is correct.  So, we're a bit pioneers here.  The functionality is very important for the department's long-term success.  Indeed, it is -- although it antecedes, obviously, Secretary Rumsfeld's tenure as secretary, it is really part of this transformation process.  We're very proud of what Norma and her team have done here.  We are pleased that they have chosen a strong vendor to carry this forward, and we are delighted at the prospect of the improvements that it will bring.


            With that, let me give you Norma St. Claire and let her say a few words about it.


            Q:     Dr. Chu, would you have 30 seconds just to answer one very quick question, sir?


            MR. CHU:  No, let me not distract -- detract from Norma and her presentation.


            Okay, Norma.  Thank you very much.


            MS. ST. CLAIRE:  Thank you.  I'm happy to be here --


            MR CHU:  My pleasure.  Thank you.


            MS. ST. CLAIRE:  -- as part of this event.


            Dr. Chu mentioned the Defense Science Board task force that met in the mid-'90s.  Dr. Chu was a member of that task force at that time, and he obviously was very knowledgeable about the problems that we had in DoD at that time, because he had been here during the first Persian Gulf War, when many of these problems were highlighted.


            It's been a long time coming, and we're very happy to be here today.  There have been press stories in the past about servicemen and -women who get lost in the system, who don't receive timely and accurate pay and benefits, and who can't document where they were in military operations so that they can get benefit for service-related medical conditions.  DIMHRS will truly transform military personnel and pay management for the department.  You have -- I think you all have packets that were provided, and there is a little paper in there on transformation and DIMHRS, and I won't go into all of that for you.


            If you want to put the first chart up.


            This life cycle chart shows that military personnel management is far more complex and far-reaching than personnel management in the   private sector.  We have the responsibility of following our service members from the moment they enter the military essentially for their rest of their lives.  Things that happen to them in the military very often result in benefits that they're entitled to after they've left the military.


            And it's complicated by the fact that members go back and forth among the components -- active, Reserve and Guard -- and of course deploy in the theater.  For most of our service members, the seams here are all broken.  The systems that we have today don't talk to each other, and there's critical information that doesn't get passed. If you go onto the next chart, on the left here is what our systems look like today.  There are multiple systems that don't talk to each other.  They're redundant.  Sometimes  the same information is not there or its different in one system from what it is in the other.  DIMHRS will be a single, fully integrated system for all components.


            DIMHRS will create a single record of service for each service member that will follow him or her for her entire career.  This record of service will ensure accurate and timely access to information for all authorized users, including the service members themselves.


            (To staff.)  The next chart.


            I'd like to take just a minute to talk about the oversight of DIMHRS. The undersecretary of Personnel and Readiness, of course, Dr. Chu, has the functional oversight of the program, and that's delegated to me, as I'm the director of the Joint Requirements and Integration Office.


            We have a very active functional community, including a flag- level executive steering committee, where all of the services participate.


            The services and OSD are committed to ensuring that we meet our mission-essential requirements but change our business practices to make the best use of COTS wherever possible.  And we are doing that right now, jointly, through business process re-engineering, so that when we use the COTS product, we won't be making a lot of modifications.


            I want to emphasize that this is a DOD program.  The DIMHRS will be used by all services and components.  The Navy is our acquisition agent, and Mr. Steve Ehrler and Captain Valerie Carpenter are here to discuss that perspective.


            MR. EHRLER:  Great.


            MS. ST. CLAIRE:  Over to you, Steve.


            MR. EHRLER:  Thank you very much.


            Good afternoon.  I'm Steve Ehrler.  I'm the program executive officer for Information Technology with the Department of the Navy. As Ms. St. Claire said, we're the acquisition agent for the DIMHRS program, which is a DOD program.


            POIT's role is in the oversight of programs as assigned and also acquisition strategy for those.  It's up to the program managers -- in this case, it's Captain Carpenter -- to actually do the hard work, which is actually to execute the program and deliver the system itself.


            It's a great pleasure to be here, help recognize a significant milestone on the road to deploying DIMHRS and all the promise that holds for the Department of Defense, as Dr. Chu had so nicely elaborated.


            And the road really, for us, started with 1996, with the release of the Defense Science Board report that stated the first need to pursue a more integrated approach to personnel pay systems across the services and with DFAS.  The acquisition community, in support of Norma and her folks in the functional community, have done an excellent job in getting us to this point.


            So I'm going to quickly brief you on what the DIMHRS acquisition has been to this date.


            (To staff.)  Next slide, please.


            We started with what is the functional requirements, what it was that the services actually needed to accomplish in the system, and evaluated them for feasibility of going with a COTS-based solution, as opposed to a government development solution.  Having determined that the approach made sense, we then went to a rigorous COTS selection process, culminating in an award of a Department of Defense-wide enterprise license in the year 2001 for a suite of products which were -- included the PeopleSoft ERP.  Once we had that product in hand, we then did an extensive fit-gap analysis to further determine how much of a match-up there was between what the needs of the department were and the actual COTS product out of the box, and also to further support the functional requirements development.


            Next slide.


            The actual development contract is being done in phased approach. It started with an RFP release, Request for Proposal release, in May of 2002, and an award in September of '02.  The contract was structured in two phases.  The first phase was a risk-reduction period in which the selected vendors had an opportunity to better appreciate the DIMHRS environment and to produce critical program documentation, including the vendors' recommended systems specification.  We're now at the beginning of the second phase of the DIMHRS contract where actual development of the system will begin.


            Next slide.


            Along the way, DIMHRS has achieved some notable successes: achieved a Milestone B decision to press on into development in April of this year; and it is the first information technology program being executed by the Department of Navy to be certified under the Business Management Modernization Program, and that happened in April of '03. In addition, DIMHRS will be the first U.S. utilization of PeopleSoft's Global Payroll Module, again on our road to do as much in COTS products out of the box, and when fully deployed, will be the largest PeopleSoft implementation in the world.


            My congratulations to Northrop Grumman and the rest of the DIMHRS team.


            And now, to tell you a little bit more about the program itself is Captain Valerie Carpenter, the DIMHRS program manager.


            CAPT. CARPENTER:  Thank you very much, sir.


            As Mr. Ehrler said, I am Captain Valerie Carpenter.  I am the Joint Program Manager for the DIMHRS PERS/Pay system.  When fully executed, of course, as Mr. Ehrler said, we will be serving all members of the military, Active, Reserve and National Guard units, which is a total customer base of 3.1 million users.


            Next slide, please.


            To get ready for the arrival of our last team member, Northrop Grumman, we have established a Joint Program Office that is reflected up there in the organization chart.  We do have representatives from all the services and from DFAS, the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, to help with the execution of this program and the implementation, fully staffed with folks from both the local area in New Orleans, where we are based, as well as those members from the other services.


            The place of performance for this contract will be in New Orleans at the SPAWAR Information Technology Center in New Orleans.


            Next chart, please.


            As Mr. Ehrler and Ms. St. Claire said, I'm the lucky person who gets -- who is banded by law and by regulation  --  to execute the system in accordance with the federal acquisition regulations, and I have lots of help to do that, both from Mr. Ehrler and from the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, who provides me contracting support.  We will be overseeing the developer/implementer, our other partners I alluded to, Northrop Grumman, in the key phases of the program, the designing and building, taking the commercial product of PeopleSoft and the requirements that the services have told us that they need, and marrying the two up and finding where the fits are and how well it fits, and where there are perceived gaps or where it doesn't seem to fit, finding commercial solutions for those,  if at all possible.  We will also be overseeing the testing,  as well as the deployment and the training,  of the customers and training the trainers for the services.


            We coordinate with all the stakeholders on the requirements.  Ms. St. Claire, as the functional sponsor, gathers those requirements and passes them on to us for implementation.


            Next slide please.


            As I said, the real importance of DIMHRS, and I think you've heard it said from Dr. Chu, from Ms. St. Claire and from Mr. Ehrler, is, this is really the transformation initiative that takes the Department of Defense personnel and pay systems really into the 21st century, follows best business practices, a lot of which your companies already do follow and which the government is now going to be following.


            Again, it standardizes the business processes across the enterprise of the Department of Defense.  Instead of each service being a separate enterprise for these types of business roles, they're going to be standard; they're going to be common.  Service members will be able to be serviced at another facility.  People that are stationed in Iraq right now, if they need service, have to go to their own service component to get help.  Not with DIMHRS.  You will be able to -- an Army person can go to a Navy facility; a Navy person can go to an Army facility for help.  It's a big step forward.  Combatant commanders now will have near-real-time, accurate information on their task force.  Every soldier, sailor, airman and Marine will be serviced by DIMHRS.


            That's really the importance of this program, and that is what we are geared to implement with the folks from Northrop Grumman and with the folks from PeopleSoft.


            Q:     Could you explain for us just simply for the great unwashed -- (laughter) -- how this is going to work?  I mean, will battle command centers, hospitals, payroll centers all use the same   computers, the same computers to do this?  Will somebody be given a bracelet with a number on it -- (laughter) -- and a barcode when they join?  How will this work for practical purposes across the spectrum?


            MS. CARPENTER:  DIMHRS will be Web-based, so if you can get to the Internet, you will be able to get to DIMHRS, regardless of what computer you are at.  We are not a hardware-based solution.  We are a Web-enabled solution.  For those that are disconnected out in the field, there will be the capability from a laptop or even from a PDA to do the functions of DIMHRS.  When you come back into garrison and you can hook up to the Internet again, you resynchronize that database with the DIMHRS database, so it always will stay current and synchronized.  Therefore, commanders, no matter where they are, at sea, on shore, will have access to it.


            Q:     Well, will a person be given --  like a Social Security number -- will be given a number when they join the --


            CAPT. CARPENTER:  There's the common access card, the CAC card, their current ID card that they carry, has all the information that is required.


            Q:     Could you give us an idea of what kind of information the commanders need that they're not able to get now on human beings?


            CAPT. CARPENTER:  Well, for instance, when a combatant commander starts to put together a joint strike force, they want to know who has got the most current proficiency in certain skill sets.  With DIMHRS, you will be able to query that from the commander's desktop, instead of asking the service chiefs to go forth and query their individual databases.  Now, the combatant commander's staff can query it right from their own desktops, and get a real-time update on who is currently proficient in, say, Farsi; who's got current Patriot battery skills; who is currently qualified in Tomahawk missile firing procedures; and so forth -- Special Forces, where are they located. And they will have access to that from their desktops themselves, instead of querying 12 different databases, now you query one common database.


            MS. ST. CLAIRE:  I think there's another problem, is that our legacy databases today, even when you do get access to them, they vary significantly on the timely (sic) and accuracy of the information. So, with DIMHRS, there will be timeliness and accuracy will also be --


            Q:     Is handling this information, compiling it, going to be very labor-intensive?  How long is it going to take for you to -- for this thing to really get up and going and usable?


            CAPT. CARPENTER:  Well, we are anticipating initial operating capability to our first customers, which in this case, happens to be the United States Army -- we're aiming for November of 2005 for initial operating capability, initial deployment.


            Q:     Well, is an initial operating capability the whole Army on line, or a section of it?


            CAPT. CARPENTER:  That's just a section, but that's the first roll-out.


            Q:     Okay.  And how large a group would that be?


            CAPT. CARPENTER:  We don't know at this time.  The details of that have not been worked out quite yet.  But we will be taking the data from the legacy systems and bringing it in, cleansing it; the services will be doing what we call a data cleansing.  They'll bring in the data that they currently have, making sure it's accurate and that it's one piece of information for each soldier, sailor, airman and Marine, and it will go into the common database of DIMHRS.


            Q:     And may I ask another basic question?  Without using any of the acronyms, could you just spell out why this is, again, such a good thing, for somebody who's not in the military, who doesn't have a clue what you're talking about.  Why is this good?


            CAPT. CARPENTER:  Now you will have one record for each individual that is accurate and up to date and readily accessible by the member online self-service, as well as all of their chain of command and their commanders.  It gives you accurate end-strength accounting at the end of the fiscal year, which is very important for budgetary purposes.  The member now can do a lot of their own self-service from their own home computer or work computer, which you can't now.  Now you have to go to a personnel service center and stand in line, so you lose a lot of time with people actually standing there.  Now they'll be able to do it self- service.


            It's a consolidated one database, which has everybody, instead of 12 or 18 or 79 legacy systems, with all different data, some of it correct, some of it not correct.  Now you have one single source for that data that's accurate and up to date and readily accessible.


            MS. ST. CLAIRE:  And I think timely and accurate pay and benefits is one of the biggest problems, plus an accurate record of service. Today, because our databases are so divided and our systems don't talk to each other, it's sometimes very difficult for an individual to piece together the -- all the different parts of a career.  And that's important for credit for service.  When our reservists are called up for active duty, sometimes they -- their credit isn't properly accounted for because it's in different systems that don't talk to each other.  And also the -- many of our service members -- there are delays in pay and benefits that -- because our systems aren't integrated.


            MR. EHRLER:  I think the other key thing on that is, again -- that is important is that we're shifting to an enterprise resource program which is a software package which industry spent a long time in vetting all the best practices from working with numerous commercial entities on how to go do things -- in this case, personnel and pay area.  And so what the department gets is, in that package, as it comes out of the box, best practices from across the commercial sector.  And so we not only get those best practices, which will continue to evolve in that package as the vendor works with industry for years to come; also, any sort of technology insertion is done into that package, and we get updates to that.


            And so those are all things that are done for us on our behalf by working with industry and doing an out-of-the-box solution that the government doesn't have to get involved in, doesn't have to put energy into.  We can focus on what our role is, which is, again, on the DOD missions, and not on the technology and trying to keep track of all those best practices.


            Q:     Yeah.  How about the -- you said that there were going to be some savings.  I would anticipate that with this program, you're not going to need as many people at AFMPC or the Navy Personnel Center or down at Alexandria or with the Defense Finance and Accounting Service.  Have you got an idea yet how many folks --


            MS. ST. CLAIRE:  No, we aren't putting numbers on that right now. But we are reducing -- DIMHRS will replace -- I think it's 76 --


            CAPT. CARPENTER:  Seventy-nine.


            MS. ST. CLAIRE:  -- 79 legacy systems.  So, obviously, there's going to be a tremendous amount of reduction in just system maintenance.  When the law changes today, multiple systems have to be changed.  In the future, only one system will have to be changed.


            Today, because of the fact that our systems don't talk to each other effectively,  we have multiple workarounds where we try to get information entered into multiple systems.  If someone is promoted, you put it into the personnel system, but then you have to go over here and put it into the pay system, too.  If someone reenlists, the same kind of thing.  So there will be those kinds of savings.


            And, of course, service members today very often spend a lot of their time baby-sitting their records.  The ones who know enough about how the personnel systems work know to keep their own personal copies of everything, and then they have to go around and make sure that the system reflects what they've got in it.  And so a lot of time on the service members themselves will go away because they'll be able to online access, look at the record.  We expect it to be more accurate, if it isn't, they'll be able to right there, online, send a message saying, hey, you know, there's something wrong here, please look into it, kind of thing.  They won't be able to change a lot of it.


            Q:     Will this cover DOD civilian personnel, too, or just -- or are we just talking about military?


            MS. ST. CLAIRE:  This will only track civilian personnel who are in theater.  Right now this is a military system, but it will track civilians and other people in the theater of operations.  As a separate issue, many of you may know that we do have a standard civilian personnel system in the department; it's called the Defense Civilian Personnel Data System.       

             Q     Two questions.  One, what's the cost of this contract?  And secondly, will it track service members' commendations and medals?


            MS. ST. CLAIRE:  Yes, to the second question.  And I'll turn that over to our program manager for the cost.


            CAPT. CARPENTER:  I've not got it quite memorized, but it's 280 million-and-some-odd dollars.


            Q:     That's phase two?


            CAPT. CARPENTER:  That's the phase two, that's the total if all -- with all of the options on it exercised, it would take it out to $280 million.  And round it up, it would be just about $281 million.


            Q:     And then PeopleSoft will be like an ongoing vendor?


            CAPT. CARPENTER:  PeopleSoft was a separate procurement, and that contract is separate from the Northrop Grumman contract, and that was already procured, and it's an enterprise-wide licensing agreement.




            Q:     Just following up on that, will this database have medical information about members?  Will it have fitness reports?


            MS. ST. CLAIRE:  Yes, it will have fitness reports.  It will have some medical information, but it will be integrated with our medical systems.  As you know, our Health Affairs Department has standard medical systems; they have the Comprehensive Health Care System, CHCS, and it will interface with CHCS.  And we will know in the personnel system when a person is in the hospital, and we'll know which hospital they're in.  That's something that we don't know today.


            Q:     Do you know how this data will be safeguarded?  There was an issue last year where similar healthcare information was stolen on computer hard drives.


            MS. ST. CLAIRE:  I do remember that.  We have some requirements for security.  Of course,  that is up to our development team to come up with how that that will happen, and I imagine they're going to be spending a great deal of time on that.  But we do have the requirements for security documented, so that we're confident they'll be able to --


            CAPT. CARPENTER:  And that is a requirement before it goes into full deployment, is that it must be fully certified by the security folks, it's called DITSCAP, and the information assurance strategy must be adequately addressed.


            Q:     When is it scheduled for full deployment?


            CAPT. CARPENTER:  Full deployment to all services is anticipated being November of '07.


            Q:     (Off mike.)


            CAPT. CARPENTER:  Right, first customer in '05.


            Q:     Going back, you know, all the records that are there now, you're just going to be able to put into this system?


            CAPT. CARPENTER:  We will do what we call a data mapping, and we will map from the existing legacy systems into the new database.  And as that data is transferring, it also gets what we called cleaned,   which means the service goes through and makes sure that that is the accurate data, it is not duplicated anywhere; we have one source to pull that data into the new database.  And at that point, then it becomes the new clean database and it maps -- you know, we know where to put each data element, based on the business rules established within PeopleSoft.


            MS. ST. CLAIRE:  We anticipate some challenges here because our legacy data is not complete, and there are some problems.  But that is a one-time translation effort.  And we do know that there will be a significant effort in getting that translation done the initial time.


            CAPT. CARPENTER:  That is one of the biggest challenges.


            Q:     So, soldier, sailor, airman, Marine, really, in the next couple of years, had better make sure that all their records are in, if they want it to go?


            MS. ST. CLAIRE:  Right.  And the services right now are individually working on cleansing their data in their legacy systems as well as they can so that we will have a better opportunity to translate the data.


            Q:     Just a quick question on the costs.  You said it would be 280, if all options are exercised, from here on out.


            CAPT. CARPENTER:  (Off mike.)  Go ahead.


            Q:     What was the cost up to this point?


            CAPT. CARPENTER:  Well, with the Phase I, the five companies were each given $1 million for the Phase I, the 90-day risk-reduction effort.


            Q:     That's it?


            CAPT. CARPENTER:  And that was it.  Well, they were (inaudible) just, know you, the contract itself.


            Q:     And the total cost of the system when it's fully deployed? I think GAO last year said it was going to be about $500 million.  Is that still accurate?


            CAPT. CARPENTER:  I really --


            MS. ST. CLAIRE:  I think that includes maintenance for several years.  That's not the development effort, and we don't --


            CAPT. CARPENTER:  I think that's just out to -- (pauses) -- and I really don't remember.  I don't want to give you an inaccurate answer.


            Q:     You mentioned a moment ago that service members now have to spend a good chunk of their time just keeping up with their records. And obviously, we've all heard stories about people whose records had some inaccuracy or perceived inaccuracy.  Is each service member going to get, before it goes into this DIMHRS system, a summary of what's going in, so that he or she has an opportunity to check and make sure that the information is accurate to their best of their --


            MS. ST. CLAIRE:  I think that it is most likely that they'll get to look at it as soon as it's in there --


            CAPT. CARPENTER:  Right.


            MS. ST. CLAIRE:  -- because then they'll have self-service, and then they'll have their opportunity to make sure that it's accurate at that point.  It'll be --


            Q:     And what will they -- if I'm such a person and see something I think is inaccurate, what then do I -- am I able to do about it?


            MS. ST. CLAIRE:  We're -- I can answer this from a requirements perspective.  The way we're defining the requirements is, we're identifying certain things that the service member can just go in and update themselves.  And very often, even just home address is something that gets -- (chuckles) -- incorrect in our systems.  And that's something they can go in and update themselves.


            There might be other things that if they find -- for instance, a promotion date or, heaven forbid, their grade -- (laughs) -- where then they would have two choices:  they would at least be able to see in the database that it was not what they believe it should be, and then they should either be able to request online that this be reviewed; or they can go into their personnel office and say, "Hey, you know, this says I was promoted two months ago, when actually it was six months ago," or "This doesn't reflect my promotion last month" or something like that.  We anticipate that there may be some problems like that when we first load the data, just because there's variability in the currency of some of the databases that we're loading.  So, it's possible that some things might not be in there that need to be updated.


            CAPT. CARPENTER:  And for some service members, this may be the first time that they actually get a chance to see their record, with minimal pervasions.  They don't have to request a microfiche copy; they don't have to request a hard copy, but they can actually see it online.  And for them, that's going to make life much, much easier. They don't have to request for anything to see their record.  They'll be able to look at it and really correct it,  probably once and for all, and permanently.


            Q:     Is this going to include initial VA data, as well, for people who are already retired?


            CAPT. CARPENTER:  Yes.


            MS. ST. CLAIRE:  Yes.


            CAPT. CARPENTER:  That is part of the archival database that is required.


            MS. ST. CLAIRE:  As a matter of fact, that interface with Veteran's Affairs is one of our primary requirements.


            CAPT. CARPENTER:  Yes.  They are one of the primary users of our data.


            Q:     Somebody mentioned that the Marine Corps system actually works pretty well now.  Are they going to get any benefit from this, or are they just going to change --


            MS. ST. CLAIRE:  They're actually going to get some benefits -- probably not as many as the rest of the department, because their system is fully integrated PERS/Pay and active Reserve.  But they also have a system that requires a lot of manual effort, and so there will be some automation benefits to them.  And they are being a very good role model for the rest of us.


            Q:     Thank you.


            MS. ST. CLAIRE:  Thank you.


            CAPT. CARPENTER:  Thank you.