Commentary

April 26, 2013

DEERS streamlined for better efficiency

Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, D.C.  — A modification in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System is expected to streamline personal records for better efficiency, the director of the Defense Manpower Data Center said.

In an interview with American Forces Press Service and the Pentagon Channel, Mary Dixon said information would now be entered into DEERS in personnel offices, rather than identification card offices.

This reporting system is used for benefits determination in the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments. It includes active-duty service members, reservists, retirees and certain civilians and contractors, as well as members of the Coast Guard, Public Health Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The system comprises 44 million people, Dixon said.

Family members can continue to use the identification card office to change their vital information, Dixon added, while, others will be referred to their personnel office when the change takes effect, expected to be by the end of this month.

The change is expected to increase accuracy of records, Dixon said, noting that any time data is moved around; there is the possibility of typing mistakes.

“It won’t solve all the problems,” she added. “Data quality is an issue that’s a continuing journey and process.”

While cost-saving figures are not yet available, Dixon said, the change would be a time-saver. In the past, she explained, the hope was that in addition to going to the ID card office to update DEERS information, people also went to the personnel office and changed the information in their personnel records so the records would match. When employees did not go to both places, she said, it created a lot of work to figure out how to reconcile mismatched data.

Record accuracy in the DEERS system helps ensure eligibility for benefits and mitigates identity theft, fraud and abuse, Dixon said. Safeguards include vetting people who have access to the system and ensuring DEERS has a strong audit capability, she added.

Dixon encouraged people enrolled in DEERS to check their records at https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/milconnect/ to make sure their information is accurate and to report any errors they find to their personnel office.




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