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Total Force Administration System

 

 
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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 through FY05.

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 (tfas@mol.marines.com) to the TFAS Development Team.

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


Email -- jdgrose115@polyglut.net
Web -- http://members.tripod.com/~jdgrose115/

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