WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is working to make the standard military service discharge form — the DD-214 — fully electronic and looking to implement recommendations from a recent report that would include improving the accuracy and privacy of servicemembers records.
The Pentagon’s Office of the Under Secretary for Personnel and Readiness asked the RAND Corp. to conduct a review of the DD-214 because the department intends to modernize the form by making it fully electronic, and so they wanted to understand which data from the form is used by different organizations and the ways to get it to them more effectively.
“There are lots of stakeholders and lots of folks who over time use the form,” Patricia Mulcahy, director of officer and enlisted personnel management, said of the RAND review. “So, anything we do, we have to be very deliberate and conscientious of all those stakeholders because we want to make sure first and foremost that whatever we do is better for the member while we continue to protect their privacy.”
Originally created in the 1950s, the DD-214 is a document that servicemembers receive at the end of their service, detailing everything from their military education, the medals that they have earned and the type of discharge they received from their branch of service. This document is crucial for veterans to verify their service and to receive benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs or their local state government.
One of the major issues found in the review is the different ways that the services fill the form with data, leading to inaccurate information. The Rand report found there are no policies regarding what record systems that the services should use to populate the form and how to do it, “so each service has different systems and methods, some of which are more advanced than others.”
The military services are now working to bring their records into the Integrated Pay and Personnel Systems and the personnel office is coordinating alongside them to make the data from these records automatically included on the electronic DD-214. This is expected to take three to five years, according to Mulcahy.