The US Air Force (USAF) has started a major upgrade of its military personnel data system (MilPDS), in an effort to move it to a more secure framework and help address security, reliability and sustainability risks.

The system is scheduled to be upgraded and transferred by the Air Force Personnel Operations Agency (AFPOA) to the Defense Information Systems Agency’s (DISA) Defense Enterprise Computing Center (DECC), in the coming weeks.

"The US Air Force (USAF) has started a major upgrade of its military personnel data system (MilPDS)."

AFPOA MilPDS functional manager Anthony Delgado said the upgrade’s planning and preparation phases took more than a year, as systems specialists worked to develop an implementation plan and test transfer actions prior to starting the full-transfer.

"Because systems changes over the years have been so significant, trying to maintain MilPDS in its current state is very risky – we could lose some irreplaceable data,” Delgado added.

”The only viable solution is to bring the entire system down, fully upgrade everything so that it’s compatible with current technologies, and stand it all back up."

A comprehensive plan has been developed by the R12 team along with total force representatives from every affected function, to address how the personnel actions will be accomplished and loaded during and after the process.

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All critical personnel and pay processes related to accessions, re-enlistments, Guard and Reserve unit training assemblies, mobilisation / activation, casualty and immediate separations are expected to continue functioning during the system downtime, according to Delgado.

The previously planned MilPDS upgrade could not be accomplished as the system was scheduled to be replaced with a new Department of Defense (DoD) military personnel system in 2008.

The programme was later cancelled by the DoD, forcing the air force to move ahead with the upgrade, so as to alleviate the risks associated with the system.

Defence Technology