SWE PRT, FFGRON Lead Review of PSD Afloat Services

By FFGRON and SWE Personnel Readiness Team

MAYPORT, FL – Improving the Navy’s Personnel Support Detachment (PSD) Afloat services to the fleet was Surface Forces’ (SURFOR) Surface Warfare Enterprise (SWE) and the Guided Missile Frigate Class Squadron’s (FFGRON) focus recently.

The Personnel Readiness Team (PRT) and FFGRON partnered with the Navy Pay and Personnel Service Center (NPPSC), the organization that has administrative oversight of the PSDs, to review processes, communications and policies related to the PSD Afloat concept. The result was more than 20 process-specific and overarching recommendations.

The PSD Afloat concept, initiated in 2004 as part of the CNO's Optimal Manning Initiative, was designed to provide administrative and pay support for Sailors at sea. Navy Instructions state that the PSD Afloat mission is to complete pay and personnel transactions, such as gains, transfers, separations, discharges, retirements, reenlistments, extensions, and travel claims, in collaboration with the ship. Sailors onboard ships previously accomplished these services.

To identify areas for improvement and determine where delays occur, the PRT, in conjunction with the Navy Pay and Personnel Support Center, conducted an in-depth review of three processes (travel claims, ESO advancement worksheets and gains) performed by PSD Afloat locations. The PRT also interviewed ship Command PASS Coordinators in San Diego and Norfolk to develop a clear picture of the customer’s perspective. Concurrently, the, FFGRON solicited feedback from all FFGs and Personnel Offices from other CLASSRONs.

Initial findings indicate that the support received from PSD Afloat for completion of advancement worksheets and the gains process was, on average, sufficient. However, the travel claim process was an area of concern. The teams found that responsibility for delays resides with both the PSD Afloat and the ship. The most common cause of late reimbursement payments were claims with missing signatures or receipts, lack of traveler education and delays at the Travel Processing Center. Issues with service record maintenance, training of Sailors working in personnel support, and a variance of organizational structures at PSD Afloat locations were other areas identified as needing improvement. These challenges are further complicated by a lack of shipboard bandwidth to transmit required documentation.

As a result of these reviews, more than 20 process-specific and overarching recommendations are being reviewed. Progress has already been made on several recommendations with the implementation of others expected in the near future. Sample recommendations include:

Improving training for PS rated Sailors, to include revised schoolhouse curriculum, establishment of a sea-swap program, and monthly town hall meetings with local PSD Afloat commands. Full utilization of the Transaction Online Processing System (TOPS) by ships and shore commands. Internal PSD Afloat restructuring to create ship liaisons to serve as full-time advocates for ship issues and questions, handle ship specific metrics, and provide training and assistance as necessary.

A Senior Level Working Group is being formed to provide oversight during the implementation phase and to ensure communications and concerns be passed between SURFOR and the NPPSC.

Continuous process improvement, exemplified by this review, allows the SWE to fulfill that mission in each core area: maintenance, modernization, logistics, manning and training. The SWE is a $25 billion enterprise committed to providing the most powerful, dominant and adaptable surface warfighters and ships with maximum efficiency and careful stewardship of resources.