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Personnel Services Delivery Redesign

One of the many questions I come across in my travels is this: Why did the Adjutant General Corps give up its personnel support battalions? The answer is rather simple, but the effects of that decision are still being discovered by sustainment units today.

The simple answer is that the Army has transformed into a brigade combat team/brigade-centric force, restructuring brigades to have the organic capabilities they need to accomplish assigned tasks. The long answer is that the human resources (HR) community was told to reduce its support command and control footprint on the battlefield, and the Army's transformation to brigade-centric operations allowed for the transfer of the functions of the personnel service battalion to the brigade S–1. The HR community’s restructuring, called personnel services delivery redesign (PSDR), has affected all echelons of the Army structure, from battalion to theater levels.

The fundamental characteristics of PSDR are—

  • Empowering commanders to provide HR support to Soldiers with organic HR assets, thereby furnishing Soldiers with specific support at brigade and battalion S–1 sections.
  • Eliminating the requirement to pull personnel service capabilities from an external structure (the old personnel support battalions) to support brigade deployments; this was accomplished by creating robust brigade and battalion S–1 sections.
  • Maximizing the use of web-based systems, communications infrastructure, and bandwidth to minimize the HR footprint as well as layers of hierarchy; these systems are brigade S–1 enablers.
  • Addressing battlefield deficiencies involving casualty, postal, and personnel accounting and strength reporting (PASR) operations in deployed theaters, using modular, scalable, and flexible HR organizations that are commanded and controlled by the sustainment community.
  • Using brigade S–1s to provide essential personnel services, PASR, personnel readiness management, personnel information management, casualty management, and HR planning and operations customer service. The brigade S–1s also provide policy, procedures, and training information and oversight to the battalion S–1 sections within the brigade as directed by the brigade commander and defined by the division, corps, and Army service component command (ASCC) G–1s and Army policy.
  • Providing the brigade S–1 section with all of the system accesses and permissions needed to enter data into or receive data from the top of the HR system (the Army Human Resources Command and the Defense Finance and Accounting Service), without having to go through intermediate steps at the division, corps, and ASCC G–1s.
  • Providing the capability to communicate digitally via NIPR (Unclassified but Sensitive Internet Protocol Router), SIPR (Secure Internet Protocol Router), and voice networks to subordinate S–1 sections, sustainment brigades, HR operations branches, HR companies, casualty liaison teams, continental United States personnel, and division, corps, and ASCC G–1s.

During a time of war, casualties are a major concern of the HR community. No matter what portion of the Army Force Generation cycle your unit is in currently, you should take time to review some of the points in the chart above. It will be too late to work through this process during an actual crisis.

Through PSDR, the HR community has transformed to support the modular, brigade-centric Army and the sustainment community. The result is improved HR support to the warfighter that is more effective, more efficient, and more responsive.

Lieutenant Colonel Christopher B. Nichols is the director of the Human Resource Management Qualification Course at the Army Adjutant General School at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.