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New civilian pay system on the way

Photo courtesy of borman818 via Flickr Creative Commons

Photo courtesy of borman818 via Flickr Creative Commons

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- All Air Force civilian employees are slated to be using a new, standardized Air Force pay system by June 2013.

The Automated Time Attendance and Production System will standardize the pay method across the service and will be implemented first at Air Force Global Strike Command and Air National Guard bases on July 29.

According to Doug Bennett, associate deputy assistant secretary for Air Force Financial Operations, the system will be implemented service-wide in eight waves during the next year and is meant to save time so personnel can focus on accomplishing the Air Force mission.

"It allows folks to focus on the mission, and allows the Secretary of the Air Force and Chief of Staff of the Air Force to make informed decisions about where we need to spend our money," Bennett said.

Along with better accountability and efficiency, the system also eliminates paper use. Currently, many Air Force civilians manually report their hours using the old paper-based system, Bennett said. ATAAPS will allow a user to enter his or her time and have the supervisor approve it electronically, providing an audit trail, while increasing the accuracy of financial statements.

"It's a lot easier to trace timecards when it is centrally located," said Benjamin Yarish, Air Force Financial Management Information Technology Portfolio manager.

According to an Air Force study 50 percent of the Air Force's civilian timecards were not properly approved by supervisors, or entered into the Defense Civilian Personnel System in a timely manner.

These inaccuracies have resulted in overpayments, underpayments, or, in some cases, no payments, according to the study.

"This standardized system will provide transparency and auditability," said John Koski, director of Air Force Information Systems and Technology.

"When your boss spends two hours every other week signing time cards, that's time that person isn't making sure that aircraft are being repaired or ready to fly," said Bennett.
The Air Force is not the first service branch to use the system.

"This system has been around for about 10 years. Army is already using it. Navy is looking to use it," said Yarish. "Therefore its track record provides confidence to use the system Air Force-wide."

The first bases to receive the ATAAPS system are Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Minot Air Force Base, N.D., F.E. Warren, Wyo., and Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont.

"I think this is a great step forward," said Bennett. I hope folks approach this system with an open mind and embrace this opportunity."