GAO: Army Guard pay shorted by inadequate systems

Stovepiped systems have denied accurate and timely payroll payments to numerous Army National Guard personnel, according to a General Accounting Office report.

Six case studies by GAO found pay problems for at least 450 Army Guard soldiers, including the Colorado Army Guard's 220th Military Police Company currently deployed in Iraq. In addition to system flaws, GAO found insufficient payroll staff, inadequate training and poor customer service.

'Overall, we found the current stovepiped systems were labor-intensive and require extensive, error-prone manual data entry and re-entry,' GAO reported to the House Government Reform Committee this week. 'Despite Defense Department plans to implement system improvements, the department will be required to operate within existing system constraints for at least several more years.'

For example, the Defense Joint Military Pay System'Reserve Component, originally designed to process payroll for weekend drills, is now being used to pay soldiers for up to two years and is 'stretched to the limits of its functionality,' GAO said.

The inaccurate, late and missed pay has had a profound impact on soldiers and their families, the report added.

GAO recommended 24 actions to improve the accuracy and timeliness of payroll payments to mobilized Army Guard soldiers. The actions include:

  • Evaluating an interface to alert pay personnel of actions needed to start entitled active-duty pay and allowances

  • Automating some or all of the current manual monthly pays

  • Considering complete re-engineering of the Defense Integrated Military Human Resources System processes and controls.

  • DOD officials agreed with the recommendations and said they are already taking actions to correct the deficiencies.

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