|Soldiers to Soon Access Personnel Files Online|
Soldiers to Soon Access Personnel Files Online
By Staff Sgt. Marcia Triggs, Army News Service.
Washington D.C. -- (ANS) October 16, 2001 -- Sergeants first class being considered for promotion will be among the first to access their Official Military Personnel File online, beginning Nov. 15.
"We're going to empower our soldiers," said Col. William Mansell, deputy to the adjutant general at the Total Army Personnel Command. "Soldiers will have control over accessing their personal files and making sure the file is accurate."
The Web site will be introduced to the rest of the Army incrementally, mainly to noncommissioned officers appearing before senior selection boards, Mansell said. The site will be accessed through the Army Knowledge Online portal, and only soldiers with an AKO account will be able to review their files, Mansell said.
Staff sergeants being considered for sergeant first class in June and sergeants major being considered for command sergeants major in October will be among the next to gain access to OMPF online, said Frederick Ziegler, deputy commander of the Enlisted Records and Evaluation Center, known as EREC.
Master sergeants being considered for sergeants major will also be able to review their records online, and so will those being considered for attendance to the sergeant major course.
Currently there are operational test sites for OPMF Online at Fort Lewis, Wash., and Camps Humphreys and Red Cloud, Korea. Some units at Fort Bragg, N.C., will also gain access in January, Ziegler said.
Soldiers at test sites are able to review their records online if they are using computers with client addresses that have been authorized by EREC, said Maj. Mitchel Hudson, chief of the Information Supply Activity for EREC.
"NCOs will only be able to log on to the site if it has been determined that they are being considered for promotion," Hudson said. "Before the selection board convenes, an OMPF Web site will be published. When someone logs on using their AKO account, we will check their Social Security Number to make sure they're eligible to use the site."
A complementary feature to OMPF Online is Field of File, which is a digital sender that works like a fax machine. Changes to personnel files will not be able to be made online, but Field of File will make correcting discrepancies in one's personnel files easier and faster, Mansell said.
Field of File is also operational at limited test sites. When soldiers at those test sites fax documents to EREC, network administrators input the data into the system, and the next day soldiers will see a digital picture of that document in their OMPF, Ziegler said.
This program will eliminate the need for soldiers to request a microfiche of their files, but the capability will still exist. Currently, soldiers who want to review their files must request that a microfiche of their personnel records be mailed to them. It usually takes four to six weeks to receive the microfiche.
OMPF Online is currently being set up for enlisted soldiers - sergeants and above.
"Our focus right now is going to be on taking care of our enlisted soldiers because they comprise most of our armed forces," Mansell said. "We will eventually expand the program to officers."
OMPF benefits the enlisted field tremendously because it will help soldiers better prepare for the promotion board, Mansell said.
"Soldiers don't realize that not only is it important that they review their files for professional development, it's an Army requirement," said Sgt. Maj. William Hursh, the sergeant major to the Adjutant General at PERSCOM. "Soldiers have to ensure that their packets are complete and up-to-date, so that promotion board members can select the best qualified soldier for promotion."