DOD wants a 21st Century payroll system

DOD to dump payroll system dating to Carter administration

The Defense Department has kept annuitants’ pay records on an old mainframe system that dates back to 1980. Now the department wants a new system that works smoothly in the 21st Century.

DOD is seeking integration and software services for modernizing its Defense Retired and Annuitant Pay System (DRAS), a Defense Finance Accounting Service (DFAS) system. It released a draft request for proposals March 3.

DOD’s highly complex DRAS is currently a jumble of 2.3 million lines of custom COBOL code, or Common Business-Oriented Language, one of the oldest program languages. It also includes more than 40 internal interfaces between subcomponents for data file transfers and more than 220 external interfaces. It’s a complex system that difficult to learn, costly to maintain, and highly susceptible to errors. Despite the complexity, DRAS handles approximately $40 billion annually in payroll and continues to grow at the rate of 1 to 2 percent per year, as more retirees and annuitants are added to the system.

Moving into the 21st Century, DOD wants a new, integrated highly efficient and cost-effective web-based system that replaces the current complex DRAS and incorporates all relevant laws and regulations. It will be a system that provides combined system personnel and pay functionality.

The central concept is an architecture that limits the processing on the thin client and distributes it to an integrated system.

DOD is considering an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract.

DOD is accepting responses through March 18.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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