By Lea Johnson
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — In case Airmen haven’t heard the news yet, they should take note now: the Military Personnel Data System will be going offline in December until Jan. 15. Regular Air Force Airmen who are eligible to re-enlist or extend their current enlistment in December and early January 2013 are encouraged to complete these actions by Nov. 15 to avoid pay issues.
According to 1st Lt. Ryan Curran, military personnel section chief, the MilPDS site is undergoing its biggest upgrade since 2001. The system will receive a facelift as well as improvements to security. During the upgrade, the system will also be moved from Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, to the Defense Information Services Agency in Ogden, Utah.
Senior Master Sgt. Trisha Malec, MPS superintendent, said the goal during this time is to limit any change to both pay and career-impacting actions. “If you were to re-enlist in the month of December, we are asking that you have it accomplished by Nov. 15 instead so we can process everything before the system down time,” she said. “That way there’s no gap in records, no gap in service dates. And for those folks who earn a selective re-enlistment bonus, they’ll still get paid in time.”
Those who don’t heed these warnings could have trouble with their pay while the system is down, Curran warns. “If (Airmen) think anything on their record is going to change between November and January, come see us,” he said.
Entitlement changes during this time, such as adding a dependent or promoting, will occur retroactively on the paycheck starting in February, Curran said.
John Sundermann, personnel systems management chief, said he will be compiling lists for commanders of those who are directly affected by the upgrade. Airmen who know they are re-enlisting during this time are strongly encouraged to start the process now so it is complete by Nov. 15.
The Virtual Military Personnel Flight website will still be available during this time, Malec said, but Airmen will notice their records not updating during this time.
“There are some self-service items in the virtual MPF, like voluntary assignment applications, that will not be processed in the month of December,” she said. “For instance, base of preference, retraining; they’ll all be put on hold until January. So if anybody wants to initiate any of those self-service applications they should start before the system downtime.”
Though they don’t foresee any problems when the system comes back online, Malec recommends everyone visit VMPF and save a copy of their records either as a zip file or as a printed copy.
During the MilPDS downtime, the MPS will complete and track a lot of tasks manually, so the information can be re-entered in the system when it is ready in January. Due to the increased workload, the MPS walk-in hours will be shortened.
Oct. 1 to Jan. 6, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Jan. 7-11, 9-11 a.m.; Jan. 14, MPS will go back to its regular hours of 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The ID card hours will not be affected.
Airmen should direct any questions through their chain of command.