By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ronda Lyn Spaulding, Navy Mid-South Public Affairs
MILLINGTON, Tenn (NNS) -- The deputy director of the U.S. Navy's focal point for all personnel transactions said that Sailors concerned with reenlistments, advancements and other administrative functions should realize that precautions are being taken to ensure personal information is protected, administrative functions are being restored and the selection board process is put back in motion following the May 1 storm and flooding which devastated Naval Support Activity Mid-South.
"BOL [BUPERS Online] is down, and that system hosts other systems," said Ann Stewart, Navy Personnel Command (NPC) deputy director. "The data is fine, but the access to that data is what we're looking at restoring."
The interruption in service came as a result of the May 1 storm and severe flooding which devastated Shelby county and caused significant structural damage to NSA Mid-South facilities and crippled the base's infrastructure. NPC is based at NSA Mid-South in Millington.
Stewart said that although facilities hosting NPC functions suffered damage, the primary consideration has been toward ensuring Sailors, family members and civilians have received the aid they need. Nearly 2,000 people work at NPC, according to Stewart, some of who were impacted by the inclement weather.
"I anticipate we'll be back up and running by next week," Stewart said. "This week has been clean, assess and get the basic needs taken care of. Next week is going to be getting all the stuff back up, checking everything and making sure all the pistons are firing and the systems are all working."
Stewart said NPC's primary concern right now is ensuring Sailors which have an administrative emergency – an unexpected transfer within a few days – receive service, something accomplished through calling 1-866-U-ASK-NPC number. She added that Sailors in the middle of a tour and not waiting for a selection board have nothing to worry about.
"We don't want anyone to transfer unless they have orders in hand," she said. "The detailers are able to do some of these kind of things, but we're telling Sailors to not panic. Normal personnel actions will happen. Regular promotions that are supposed to occur are happening, regular advancements that are supposed to be happening are happening – things of a routine nature will not be impacted by this at all."
Stewart added that had an incident such as this occurred several years ago the results could have been more disastrous, but with the advent of technology, Sailors' records and personal information is safe.
"Paper records can get wet in a situation like this, and that information could be lost," she said. "If you look at a place like the Personnel Records Center and the fire they had impacted people for years. Technology has helped us with this sort of thing. This is a very temporary condition, and one from which we will recover. "
Stewart also said that the Navy Standard Integrated Personnel System (NSIPS) represented the perfect example of NPC's dedication and flexibility during the recovery stage currently ongoing at NSA Mid-South.
"NSIPS is the system Sailors use for personnel transactions throughout the fleet," she said. "Within 24 hours, responsibility of this system had been shifted to Tulsa, Okla., and we were able to begin processing all those transactions."
Stewart said that one of NPC's departments, the Reserve component, was one of the command's areas sustaining the most damage, and particularly difficult for Reserve personnel in the building since they had previously been stationed in New Orleans. The command relocated following the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
"The Reserve component's office spaces were on the first floor of one of the buildings which was flooded," she said. "They do have records and paperwork which was damaged, and they're in the process of assessing what that damage is. These people have been through a lot, and we want to make sure we are taking care of them, finding them a home. We also need to remember that this is the second tragedy that they've been through."
Stewart said that although the Reserve component sustained significant setbacks in performing personnel actions such as retirements, separations and other administrative functions for reservists Navywide, NPC Sailors within the department are working around the clock to ensure Reserve Sailors needs are being met.
While NPC facilities suffered a significant blow to it's infrastructure, NSA Mid-South Sailors have provided every effort to facilitate the command's rejuvenation, according to Stewart.
"The base commander and NSA Sailors have done just a phenomenal job of orchestrating this situation," she said. "The highest priority has been on the needs of the family members impacted, but they also have been able to switch gears and understand what our roles and missions and responsibilities are in supporting the whole Navy. I think they've done a super job in making sure all bases have been covered.
Sailors expecting to transfer in the next few weeks and having questions regarding their orders are encouraged to call 1-866-U-ASK-NPC (1-866-8-275-672) for more information.
For updates, follow NPC on Facebook at Navy Detailers and on Twitter at twitter.com/npcpao.
For more news from Chief of Naval Personnel, visit www.navy.mil/cnp/