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Financial services return to local centers

WASHINGTON -- The processing of military pay transactions will move from the Air Force Financial Service Center at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., to base-level financial services offices beginning in August.

The return of military pay transactions to local level is a part of the Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta's efficiencies agenda, and is geared toward improving the service-wide military pay process, said Lee Franklin, the AFFSC director.

AFFSC was created in 2007 as a "one-stop shop" for all financial transactions, Franklin said. The center processed backroom military pay and travel functions in a single consolidated location. All military pay transactions were initiated at the local financial services offices and sent to the AFFSC at Ellsworth AFB for final processing.

The plan was for military pay transaction processing to eventually be transitioned to the Defense Integrated Military Human Resources System, which would have combined military personnel and pay processes into a single system, Franklin said. That program was terminated in 2009.

"Following careful review, it was concluded that processing military pay actions centrally actually delayed processing time for updating military pay entitlements and caused a negative effect on Airmen," Franklin said. "Processing these actions at base level provides better support, allows faster update of a document-driven process and permits face-to-face resolution of pay issues."

The review revealed that military pay transactions processed at the AFFSC had a higher rejection rate, and often required corrections by the individual, he said. Also, civilian contractors processing military pay transactions require a 100 percent audit of their work, adding more time to the process, which will be eliminated with the move.

With the return of military pay processes to local financial services offices, 286 Airmen will be reassigned to finance offices Air Force-wide to provide the manpower necessary to accomplish the base level workload, Franklin said. AFFSC will still employ 161 civilians to process travel pay requests for active duty, Reserve Airmen and Air Force civilians.

"The benefit to Airmen will be quicker processing of changes made to their military pay records and the ability of the local financial services office to respond more immediately to questions about processing of pay transactions without having to consult the AFFSC," Franklin said.

Franklin said some finance offices are already processing military pay transactions locally, but it will take time to transition every office.

All military pay processing activities and personnel will be returned to local financial services offices by the end of fiscal 2012.