Peter Sperry

Keep in mind that you may be dealing with leaders and managers who have had painful personal experience of what can happen when hardcopy documents are unavailable. Many in DoD continue to deal with the aftermath of the great St. Louis records fire. Back in the 60s the military records center went up in flames, the physical equivilant of electrons disappearing into the ether. DD-214s burnt, so did pay records, and military birth certificates (my own included), discharge records, retirement records etc. The immediate impact was bad enough but as veterans aged and began to claim benifits based on prior service which could no longer be documented, the problem snowballed. I have known of veterans as recently as 2007 who were trying to retrieve W2s through the IRS in order to document their service in the 50s. However, there are always those who carefully collect and save every paper document they ever recieve. Trust me a veteran walking in with an original copy of a DD-214 issued in 1964 is a whole lot better off than one hoping the IRS scanned his W2.

We all drink the kool aide regarding electronic record keeping but I still have paper copies in a fire proof lock box of every critical financial document, including monthly pay statements. It systems crash and government records burn. Do you want to walk into an OPM office in 40 years and try to prove your eleigibility for the pension you live on for the rest of your life based on their computer records or your paper documents?