The US Air Force (USAF) is set to start a major upgrade of the military personnel data system (MilPDS) in March 2013, four months behind the original schedule.

"Expected to last for 23 days, the upgrade was originally scheduled to take place in December 2012, but was delayed."

The system will 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 an effort to migrate the system to a more secure framework.

Expected to last for 23 days, the upgrade was originally scheduled to take place in December 2012, but was delayed to enable a comprehensive testing and validation by the Air Force Personnel Center and other departments to ensure proper functioning of the new system.

Air Force Manpower, Personnel and Services assistant deputy chief of staff Robert Corsi said the service is confident of starting the MilPDS upgrade in March in order to address security, reliability and sustainability risks.

"We will have processes in place to ensure personnel and pay service providers are able to work critical transactions for their customers during the upgrade," Corsi added.

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

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The programme was later called off by the DoD, prompting the air force to move ahead with the upgrade so as to mitigate the risks associated with the system.

The air force has developed a wide range of procedures to ensure accomplishment of critical functions for all airmen during the upgrade process when the system will not be available.

Critical personnel and pay processes associated with accessions, re-enlistments, guard and reserve unit training assemblies, mobilisation / activation, casualty and immediate separations will continue to operate normally, while other processes are scheduled to be held and accomplished following the programme’s completion.