AROWS, a modification of the Navy Reserve Order Writing System, is an automated order writing system that gives all levels of management, down to the individual guardsman, accurate, realtime information for decision making. AROWS supports more than 106,000 customers in the Air National Guard, with approximately 15,000 orders and travel orders processed weekly.
AROWS came online in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in October 2006 at the Space and Naval Warfare (SPAWAR) Systems Center (SSC) New Orleans continuity-of-operations (COOP) facility in Fort Worth, Texas. While programming changes for the application itself are supported by the Technology Services Organization (TSO) at Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) Kansas City, all daily support for the production system is provided by a team from SSC New Orleans. This support includes both direct support of the application by systems operators and administrators and database analysts, as well as 24x7 help desk support for AROWS users. SSC New Orleans also provides Tier II/interface support for the help desk.
AROWS was created because of a need to integrate order writing support to reduce redundancy, eliminate discrepancies and comply with the Business Enterprise Architecture (BEA) and the mandate of the Chief Financial Officers (CFO) Act of 1990.
TSO - DFAS Kansas City was the recognized expert in order writing software development, having already developed an order writing system for the Marines and Navy Reserve. When the Air National Guard studied what was already available as commercial and government-off-the-shelf software, they discovered the services of the TSO.
But the TSO's forte lies in software development, not hosting, so the TSO recommended to the Air National Guard that they contact SSC New Orleans to serve as hosts. AROWS replaced the Integrated Automated Orders System and the Base Workday Control systems, which were unique to Air National Guard integrated legacy systems.
AROWS provides a reliable, interoperable and efficient relational open system, leveraging Internet and Web technology and uses a graphical user interface. The business process consists of the functions of an order request, approval and publishing. An order request is the initial step in placing a guardsman on military duty and/or travel status. Typically a request is initiated from a field unit to fulfill a need for military duty and/or travel in support of the Air National Guard or Air Force mission requirements.
The approval of the orders includes the allocation of funds necessary to support the cost of the request. Cost items that are typical for orders are basic military pay, per diem, subsistence, housing and travel expenses. Various funding sources support the order writing process. Tracking the use of the funds and the ability for reconciliation are an essential aspect of AROWS.
Ultimately, the order writing process provides the documentation required to support the placement of a guardsman in a military status with the associated travel cost. This may include specific written authorization for movement and authorization for commercial or military transportation. AROWS provides real-time access to information about Air National Guard orders to a widely distributed community of guardsmen dispersed around the world.
This system represents the most significant change in resource management in the Air National Guard in the last 20 years. It brings orders and workday management in compliance with the CFO Act and enhances every step of the orders process. AROWS is 100 percent Web-based, requests for orders can be initiated from anywhere in the world. It combines the orders application process with an automated approval workflow, budgeting approvals and the delivery of official orders.
AROWs interfaces with the General Accounting and Finance System (GAFS), the Military Personnel Data System (MilPDS), the Commanders' Resource Integration System (CRIS) and the Integrated Military Personnel System (IMPS). An interface to the Defense Travel System (DTS) is planned for the near future.
The current user base includes approximately 4,345 personnel, but a new release in spring 2008 will provide access to all Air National Guard personnel, enabling each guardsman with a CAC-enabled computer to input an order request and track its progress. Currently, guardsmen are able to access the system in read-only mode.
The SSC New Orleans AROWs team is in the process of migrating AROWS from the COOP facility in Fort Worth, to the state-of-the-art shared services environment at SSC New Orleans. Upon completion of the move, the system will have even greater flexibility and redundancy, resulting in less downtime and greater support for the guardsman in the field.
Air Force Lt. Col. Millie De Jesus, AROWS program manager, praised the work of the AROWs team at the conclusion of its first year.
"We just went over the first anniversary of the deployment of AROWS and have completed the first close-out of [the] fiscal year using the system. This is the perfect opportunity to convey our deepest appreciation for the outstanding and consistent support your organization has provided throughout this groundbreaking year. The New Orleans team, along with the Technical Services Office at DFAS Kansas City, are critical components of the AROWS success formula," she said.
"We look forward to continued joint support of the system and collaboration among the experts who sustain the system operations," continued De Jesus. "As we start fiscal year ‘08, we know we will face new challenges, and we are confident your teams will conquer them."
The SSC New Orleans AROWS team consists of John Beierl, AROWS project manager; Robert Justo; Chris Rizzo; John Landry; Steve Hollars; Joan Baham; Sara Gutierrez; Kelly Price; Crystal Porter; Yvette Stringfield and Pete Ramos in Texas; and Shelitta Myers.