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Interactive Personnel Electronic Records Management System
Previously, The United States Army handled all documents manually until technology was introduced allowing for convenient access to files electronically. Now, the storing, developing, decision making, sending, and all other functions of a Soldier’s record are controlled within the Interactive Personnel Electronic Records Management System (iPERMS). Within iPERMS contains the Army Military Human Resource Record (AMHRR), which further consists of the Official Military Personnel File (OMPF), documents that are financially related, and other non-military related documents that can be used in the future, such as civilian education and technical certifications. This system is used by official records custodians (ORC), which are given the authorization to grant iPERMS access to human resources personnel as the Record Manager (RM). The RM is designated to assist Soldiers in reviewing, uploading, and removing documents into iPERMS. The Soldier is responsible for delivering the proper documentation to the RM for updates regarding their records. Additionally, Soldier’s will be responsible for ensuring their records are authenticated for consideration and selection for centralized promotion. iPERMS has many characteristics, features, and impacts on the Army and the Soldiers who serve.
Characteristics of the Users of the System
The ORC is located at the Army Human Resources Command (HRC) and has access to all active and reserve component service members. The ORC is responsible for granting access to unit administrators, with the proper documentation and training, as the RM. Furthermore, the ORC has the role to processes the documents uploaded by unit administrators and serves them in customer service. The RM, or unit administrator, is typically located at an installation’s military personnel division, or a unit’s brigade and battalion human resources department, also known as the S-1 (United States Army, 2014). The roles of the RM include scan operator – the ability to scan and upload documents, authorized official – view-only access to the Soldier’s records to identify issues, and records manager – the purpose of conducting personnel and finance records reviews (United States Army, 2015). The RM is the primary connection for communication with the ORC. Additionally, the RM is responsible for any changes and updates to a Soldier’s record within his or her organization. This includes but is not limited to reviewing records annually, uploading and removing documents as necessary, ensuring all documents are verified in accordance to regulation, and assisting in the process of consideration and selection of centralized promotions. Another user of this system is the Soldier. The Soldier is responsible for ensuring their records are updated in a timely manner by consistently monitoring and delivering the proper documentation to the unit administrators.
Features and Usage of the System
In the Soldier’s perspective, iPERMS is an electronic file that contains records throughout his or her Army career. As soon as the Soldier logs in to the system, they will be given a variety of functions regarding their record. The most important menu option, in my opinion, is under the documents tab. The documents tab provides the Soldier with their entire military history and contains subcategories which allows for easier searching. The subcategories consist of a performance, service, medical, finance, deployment, administrative, and personnel records review tab. If the Soldier needs to find a previous award, military or civilian school certificate, it would be listed under the performance tab. The service tab contains the Soldiers initial and follow-on contracts they had signed along with any past investigations. If the service member has any history of medical problems, it would be accessed under the medical section. Also, any financial related documents such as basic allowance for housing or marriage certificate would be listed under the finance portion. Once a Soldier deploys in support of an operation, such as Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom, deployment orders are uploaded and stored into the deployment category of the Soldier’s record. Frequently, Soldiers will violate an article under the Uniform Code of Military Justice and will receive punitive action in a summarized, company, or field grade article 15. Once this process is completed, it will be stored in the administrative section under the documents tab in iPERMS. Each document listed contains the title, name, date, and pages of the document. Many of these documents are used, by HRC, to evaluate and determine suitable and qualified candidates for future assignments and promotions.
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In the perspective of the RM, iPERMS is, in addition to their own personnel file, a human resource database used to upload, store, and process a Soldier’s record to HRC for further decision making and output. When an RM logs in to the system, they will be required to authenticate their access and the Soldier’s information they wish to assist. First, the RM will have to scan the documents to their email, in TIFF format, and save it to the desktop. Second, the Soldier’s Name, organization, and social security number or department of defense identification number will be inputted to assist the ORC in processing the documents. The RM will click on a file document and will then be given the option to upload documents by batches. Again, the files will need to be uploaded in TIFF for the process to be successful. When each batch is uploaded from the desktop, a menu will appear requiring the title, name, and date of the document. This is where the subcategories come into play when viewing a record. Then, after the RM successfully uploads the batch for further processing, a batch number will be issued. The batch number is used for following up on the process until the ORC has confirmed and verified the documents into the Soldier’s record. Once the ORC has added the records into the Soldier’s file, an email will be generated and sent to the Soldier. When the Soldier logs on to his or her AMHRR, the documents will be marked as new until that document is viewed (iperms-production, 2018).
Finally, in the perspective of the ORC, iPERMS is a human resources database used to identify qualified and unqualified Soldiers for selection and consideration for follow on assignments and promotions. Some assignments require a record that is clean of negative evaluations and derogatory history. Also, when competing for centralized promotions, this same information can be used to choose the best qualified. Once the RM has requested any changes to a Soldier’s record, the ORC will review and process the documents as needed, ensuring there are no duplicates, and everything meets the standards according to the regulation.
Impact of the System
When comparing how the Army processes its Soldier’s records today to the past, before technology, which consisted of typewriters, stacks of file cabinets, and mailing hard copies to HRC, the Army, as a whole, is saving a lot of time, money and effort. Organizations no longer need to spend money on additional file cabinets due to inadequate space or postage and shipping fees when mailing documents to HRC for further processing. Furthermore, with this system, each organization can save money on paper because there is no need to print each document in a Soldier’s record to store it. Moreover, the unit administrator or the human resources professionals no longer has the obligation of spending hours scrubbing the files for documents that are obsolete or updated, which saves a lot of effort. Also, instead of waiting days that it takes to mail a document from its point of origin to its destination, iPERMS allows for instant delivery to the next higher echelon, saving the Army time. One negative impact the system endures is occasional down times. Sometimes a Soldier will need to update their records in a timely manner for situations of importance however, the system will be down for maintenance causing the Soldier to miss his or her window of opportunity. Another negative impact this system has is the delay it has from the time the RM uploads a document until the ORC finalizes it into the Soldier’s record. Many times, a Soldier will wait months waiting for their records to post initiating a recurrence to the unit administrator often blaming them for the lack of competence. This causes more time and effort because the RM will constantly have to spend the time to communicate with HRC and the ORC to figure out the reasoning of the delay.
In conclusion, iPERMS is a human resource database that is used by the Army, which resulted from the use and development of technology. The users of iPERMS consist of Soldiers who need to view their electronic records, RM who need to update and request changes to the Soldier’s record, and the ORC, who is responsible for processing the documents and requests the RM sends. The documents in this system are uploaded by the RM and processed by the ORC, which is then used to consider the Soldier for future considerations based on performance and evaluation. The documents in the Soldier’s records consist of both favorable and unfavorable documents or personnel actions. iPERMS saves the Army time, effort, and money that is a direct result of the benefits of technology. In addition to the positive impacts this system has, compared to the days before technology, this system contains a few negative influences as well.
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