The past year saw several bumpy tech platform rollouts across the Army.
The service’s new Deloitte-designed platform for educational benefits, Army Ignited, was rushed out before it was ready due to contract issues, leaving thousands of soldiers with the burden of pursuing exceptions to policy to continue their education. Some troops continue to report issues with the new platform, as well.
The Army has also delayed the launch of a new version of its human resources and pay platform, IPPS-A, until at least September 2022. Senior leaders said the delay was because IPPS-A simply wasn’t ready.
“Frankly, in part because of [the failed Army Ignited launch], as well as the lessons learned from that experience, when we looked at where IPPS-A was, we made the decision that it was better to delay the rollout of that so that we can make absolutely sure that the system was going to work when it actually does go live,” Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said in an October press conference.
IPPS-A must pass another round of tests led by CACI, the lead contractor on the half-billion-dollar project, ahead of its rescheduled rollout.
The service’s top IT officials say they’re committed to ensuring that the first major IT hurdle of 2022 — the ongoing transition from Defense Enterprise Email services to new Army 365 email — will go more smoothly. One concern that many across the Army have is whether there will be an interruption in official email services for the 250,000 personnel who won’t receive an Army 365-based email.
“Between now and March, when [DEE] is slated for decommissioning, we will have a solution to transition everybody and their current email capabilities to either Army 365 or an alternate [email] solution,” Dr. Raj Iyer, the Army’s chief information officer, told reporters in December.
It’s still not clear what that extra email solution will be, though, and Iyer said “we’re unable to to share any additional information, because that at this point is all contract- and acquisition-sensitive.”
Regardless, the CIO said the Army is “well on our way to implementing the alternate solution and hav[ing] it ready in time.”
Lt. Gen. John Morrison Jr., an Army deputy chief of staff for cyber, also revealed that the service may be able to put the brakes on the old email system’s March 31 sunset if “conditions,” such as delays in an alternate email solution, aren’t met in time.
Davis Winkie is a senior reporter covering the Army, specializing in accountability reporting, personnel issues and military justice. He joined Military Times in 2020. Davis studied history at Vanderbilt University and UNC-Chapel Hill, writing a master's thesis about how the Cold War-era Defense Department influenced Hollywood's WWII movies.