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Sailors Get a Streamlined System

March 20, 2003
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Related Topics: Human Resources Management Systems (HRMS/HRIS), Featured Article
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Clunky is probably the best way to describe the human resourcessystem as it now stands in the U.S. Navy. The 20-year-old technology consists ofabout 78 legacy systems, along with hundreds of smaller applications. None arelinked, so each piece of information on every one of the active-duty 380,000sailors has to be manually entered again and again. And with more than 45,000new sailors and up to 4,000 officers enlisting each year, plus another 60,000sailors and 17,000 officers moving or changing jobs on shore, ships, squadrons,and submarines, it's no wonder that inaccuracies, errors, inconsistencies, andall manner of human resources headaches occasionally surface.

    "The training database isn't linked with the personnel database,"says Vice Admiral Gerald L. Hoewing, who assumed the duties of chief of navalpersonnel/deputy chief of naval operations (manpower & personnel) lastOctober. "The open job database isn't linked to sailors' competencies. Thefinancial system isn't linked to personnel records. And it goes on and on."

    But that awkward and inefficient situation is about to change under Hoewing'sleadership. In December, the Navy began implementing a human capital managementand data warehouse application made by PeopleSoft. The streamlined system, whichis expected to be fully functional by 2004, includes analytic, self-service,recruiting, and other applications to consolidate the various systems, link andintegrate the disparate databases, and allow sailors online access to theirpersonnel records.

    "This HR system upgrade will have a direct, positive impact on ourmission effectiveness, combat readiness, and organizational efficiency,"Hoewing says. "For example, by linking job databases with sailorattributes, we'll improve our ability to get the right sailor to the right placeat the right time."

    When it comes to HR technology, the Navy is the Defense Department leader,Hoewing says. "This application suite enables us to gain efficiency; gettimely, accurate data; be more effective; and reduce the costs of maintainingand operating multiple legacy systems--all with a common, off-the-shelf product.Over the next several years, the entire Department of Defense will be moving tocommercial solutions in order to reduce administrative and maintenance costs.The Navy is ahead of the game."

    The new system, which cost just over $7.5 million, will consolidate andcentralize benefits, training, assignments, qualifications, and compensationinformation. It will enable immediate updates and provide access toup-to-the-minute data on personnel skill sets and competencies required to buildfuture force structures. And it will allow the Navy to measure, manage, andmaximize service members' performance.

    Sailors will be able to match their qualifications to job opportunities andupdate their preferences for geographic location and type of duty. They'll beable to access their personal information, instantly update their records, tracktheir training, and manage their careers from home, on a ship, or at a base--allthrough a simple Web browser.

    "Our stakes are high," Hoewing says. "So every system weimplement and every policy we make must contribute to our ability tosuccessfully operate in the four corners of the world in support of our nation'sdefense."

Workforce Online, March 2003 -- Register Now!

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