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NEWS | July 6, 2010

Accountability system proves vital during natural disasters, crises

By Erin Tindell Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

With hurricane season under way, the Air Force Personnel Accountability and Assessment System continues to help leaders take care of Airmen and their families affected by any natural disaster or crisis.

Implemented in April 2009, AFPAAS aligns Air Force reporting with Department of Defense requirements for total force personnel accountability, including active-duty Airmen and their families, Air Force reserve, guardsmen, civilians and contractors overseas.

To use the system, members log into or call 800-435-9941 to report individual and family member status if affected by a disaster or crisis.

Since its implementation, the Web-based system has delivered rapid, real-time accountability data directly to commanders and readiness managers.

"AFPAAS helps leaders focus on where the biggest impact is after a natural disaster or other crises so they can strategically allocate resources to effectively help affected personnel and make decisions that facilitate a return to stability as quickly as possible," said Brian Angell, the Air Force Personnel Center Personnel Readiness Cell Operations chief.

Before the system was created, information was gathered manually through phone calls and spreadsheet data that was then forwarded by personnel readiness managers from the lowest levels up the chain of command. The process was slow and extended the time it took to assess entitlements for affected personnel.

Now, the system leverages technology to deliver real-time data to leaders every 15 minutes, ultimately speeding up the process of allowing commanders and Airman and Family Readiness Center case managers to account, assess, manage and monitor the recovery and reconstitution process for personnel and their families affected or separated by a wide-spread catastrophic event, Mr. Angell said.

"The system has two parts that work together; personnel readiness managers track the data for accountability, while Airman and Family Readiness Center case managers track and assess members and their families requesting assistance through the system," said Yvonne Duker, the AFPC Airman and Family Operations Team chief.

AFPAAS proved instrumental after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake devastated Haiti and Air Force officials needed to account for any personnel affected by the disaster.

"AFPAAS allowed leaders to account for a total of 1.39 million members and 1.1 million of them were accounted for in only 15 hours after the event," Mr. Angell said.

A key difference between AFPAAS and the previous method of accountability is family members can also log into the system to report any immediate needs they have. This is beneficial should a military member and their family become separated during a natural disaster or crisis.

There are 19 areas of assistance members can request using AFPAAS including medical, financial, temporary housing and childcare. Members also assign a level of assistance ranging from "no needs or not affected" to "immediate needs."

The information reported in the system is protected to ensure privacy, Ms. Duker said.

"Leadership uses the system to see the big picture of impact after a catastrophic event," she said. "However, privacy information is still safeguarded, so they can't view personal information and details of specific cases."

Personnel readiness officials are working with Airman and Family Readiness Centers officials to ensure families are educated on how AFPAAS can benefit them and how to update their information in the system.

Web-based training sessions are available for leaders, commanding officer representatives and readiness personnel, as required, and can be scheduled through major command personnel directorates.

For more information about AFPAAS, visit or call 800-435-9941.