By Lieutenant Colnel Jeffery Peterson
Total Force Administration System or “TFAS” is a major new
Marine Corps initiative, created to significantly change the way
we provide pay and administrative support to Marines and commanders
for all 500,000 regular, reserve and retired Marines. It
includes a review of the roles of the individual Marine and the
commander, our organizational structure, our individual business
processes and our technology.
We have been well aware for some time that our service model
for pay and admin support needs reengineering. We accelerated
our modernization efforts following FSRG and GOS recommendations
and a CMC decision in the 1997/98 timeframe to cut over 1,000
of our some 9,000 admin structure spaces.
In a recent study of best business practices, Price Waterhouse
Coopers estimated that well over 30% of our administrative structure
could be eliminated if we employ state-of-the-art processes
and available off-the-shelf technologies. That equates
to about three infantry battalion's-worth of Marines that we
can reinvest into the operating forces.
The initial focus of our efforts is only on the front end
of our pay and personnel system--those interfaces through which
we input and retrieve information from the Marine Corps Total
Force System, the back end.
This modernization is essential to support our warfighting
concept of Operational Maneuver from the Sea by primarily having
a reach-back configuration instead of a large administrative
footprint both afloat and ashore.
New technologies and the need to provide commanders and
Marines with greater, more efficient service have also factored
into the decision to move forward with the TFAS initiative.
We will leverage information technology advances and develop
an implementation strategy that acknowledges the limits of our
current and projected telecommunications infrastructure.
Commanders, Marines and their families will be provided with
demand-based service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Creating streamlined admin sections at the battalion and
squadron level will reduce the number of Marines who currently
work in pay and administration. These sections will collect,
perform quality control and forward pay and personnel information
for processing at regional personnel administration centers.
Marines and commanders will report many transactions directly
into MCTFS using self-service capabilities and streamlined reporting
procedures. Feedback mechanisms will be put in place to
enable both the Marine and the commander to stay informed of
the status of pending transactions.
Our intent is to help commanders and their staffs by providing
more convenient and efficient means for processing routine pay
and admin transactions. This will allow them to turn their
focus toward situational awareness and decision-making matters
vice the processing of an enormous amount of routine information.
At the strategic level, TFAS is being vetted through the
Combat Development Process at MCCDC. The Marine Corps
Systems Command is currently assisting with program management.
We envision they will assume full program management as TFAS
moves through the Combat Development System. An FY00 and FY01
POA&M will largely involve concept refinement, requirements
determination and implementation of non-material and some limited
material solutions where possible. Phased development, testing
and fielding of the TFAS components will be pursued from FY02
At the operational level, ongoing efforts include centralization
and consolidation of pay and administrative support at levels
above the traditional battalion and squadron level. I MEF will
complete their centralization and consolidation effort by the
end of FY00 and continue to experiment with reach-back capability
for the West Coast Marine Expeditionary Units. All major
bases, stations and operating forces should complete their initial
centralization and consolidation effort by the end of FY01.
At the tactical level, Marines continue to create innovative
business practices in the field. They can communicate
their ideas via the Internet (firstname.lastname@example.org) to the TFAS
A related initiative that the Defense Finance and Accounting
Service (DFAS) is fielding is called the Employee/Member Self-Service
program, or “EMSS”. EMSS provides an excellent, limited
scale example of a larger, interactive capability we expect
with TFAS. EMSS will allow Marines to either go through the
DFAS web site or a toll free number with interactive voice response
to change their W-4 form, EFT address or home address; start,
stop or modify certain allotments; or have their LESs sent directly
to an email account.
For more information, go to the TFAS web site at: http://tripoli.manpower.usmc.mil/WEB/Manpower/MANPOWER.nsf/mp/mphome