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As leaders try to sort out the larger service record problems, they’re also contending with a small crisis brought on by hackers.
Sailors and officers looking to update their service records now through December are facing access problems as the Navy tightens security.
The need for system upgrades became apparent after hackers successfully infiltrated the Navy this year, a defense official has confirmed.
There is no evidence personnel data were specifically hacked, officials say, but the Navy has been tight-lipped about the details surrounding the attack.
The Wall Street Journal reported in September that Iranians had successfully hacked the Navy. The service has not publicly confirmed this, but an official speaking to Navy Times on condition of anonymity said the report is accurate.
As the Navy works to strengthen its security, you will have restricted access to BUPERS Online, your Electronic Service Record and your Official Military Personnel File.
The outages also affect personnel offices, as they submit documents electronically. They must now default to mailing documents to Navy Personnel Command.
It won’t be impossible for the thousands of enlisted and officers preparing for selection board deadlines to get their records in order. It’s just going to take some extra effort and workarounds.
As long as you have a Common Access Card, you can view your OMPF through the Veterans Administration’s eBenefits website at https://www.ebenefits.va.gov.
But for those with limited bandwidth or no CAC computer access, you’ll have to request a copy from Navy Personnel Command. You can send a request — by encrypted email only — to P312NARA@navy.mil. Or you can snail mail a request to: Navy Personnel Command, PERS-313, 5720 Integrity Drive, Millington TN 38055-3120.
These requests will be expedited, and a CD of your record will be shipped to you, personnel officials said. If there are problems with your record, you should work with your personnel support detachment to fix them.
Sailors can still access BUPERS Online, but will only be able to view their physical fitness scores.
Cyber attacks aren’t new to the Navy. It’s not uncommon for the service to experience “100 probes” in a typical day, Vice Adm. Michael Rogers, head of Fleet Cyber Forces, told Navy Times this year.
The Navy is growing its cyber force in both equipment and manning to to keep up with the hacker threat, which grows increasingly sophisticated every day.
Lt. Cmdr. Chris Servello, spokesman for the chief of naval personnel, said the Navy sites’ access restrictions, while an inconvenience, are necessary.
“System upgrades are required to improve performance, system readiness and customer service,” he said. “We regret any inconvenience or frustration that this causes. As soon as we have a better idea of the precise timeline, we will share it with the fleet.”