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National Finance Center

U.S. Department of Agriculture

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NFC FESI Test Window Instructions

The Schedule of Windows

At the beginning of each calendar year, the National Finance Center (NFC) will publish a schedule of FESI Test Windows for the upcoming year.

The Details of a Test Window

There will be three FESI Test Windows per calendar year. Each window consists of a five-week test window. The window will provide the Agency 20 PINE passes and 2 PAYE/BEAR processes. The windows are scheduled in approximately the same pay periods each year.

The Request to Participate in a Test Window

Any Agency interested in testing during a test window should send a written request to the mailbox at least six weeks prior to the start of the scheduled test window.

Agencies must also send a copy to the Clients Management Branch mailbox at This written request should contain certain information that will assist NFC in preparing the test database to ensure the test is a success.

Your request should include the following:

  1. An Agency justification for testing and identification of test criteria. (i.e., identify what you will be testing).
  2. An Agency Point of Contact.
  3. The population of Agency data that should be loaded to the test database.

The Request for Security Access to FESI Test Database

A separate security access request must be submitted by the Agency Security Officer (ASO) to the Access Management Branch via the ServiceNow Customer Service Portal at least four weeks prior to the start of the FESI Test Window for all users that are expected to participate in NFC FESI Testing. All test IDs must have a expiration date identified in the security access request. Note: Access to the test database will be granted to an “alternate” user ID for a specified period. The ASO should specify the timeframe the access is required which should be based on the test window. The exact name of the alternate ID will be supplied by NFC Security Office personnel.

The test environment for the FESI Test Database is IDMS61-DICT03. The ASO should submit a security request for the following applications:

  1. IRIS
  2. PINQ
  3. PMSO

EPIC parallel (parallel-2), the NFC Access Management Branch will ensure your request is given the appropriate attention and access is granted based on application specifications.

The Agency Test Population for a Test Window

To create the test population, NFC will unload employees from the production database based on org-codes supplied by the Agency or by SSNs supplied by the Agency. The maximum number of employee records NFC will load to the test database for each participating organization is 1,000. If the Agency is supplying Social Security Numbers (SSNs), they must be in plain text format with no hyphens or spaces, and with the full nine digits (i.e., excel will suppress leading zeros and the SSN will be invalid). The SSNs should be sent in a password-protected document. The production snapshot that will be loaded to the test database will be taken on Thursday, prior to the start of the test window. The Agency may decide they do not want live accounts loaded from production; instead the Agency will transmit fake accounts via their front-end system.

The Flow of Data Between the Agency and Test Database

Each Agency that participates in the test windows will be assigned a unique identifier that is agreed upon between the agency and NFC. The unique identifier must be 2-8 characters. The first two characters must be the department code. The last 6 positions may be the Agency, a combination of agcy/POI, or any acronym up to 6 positions. Users should refer to the FESI manual for sample JCL to transmit data into our mainframe files. The names of the files (outbound files) that contain records to be processed are:

  1. PMSO - NFCPPARA.PMSO.TL01.uniqueid
  2. PINE - NFCPPARA.PINE.DX301.uniqueid

After your records have been processed, NFC will create files that the Agency will read in (inbound files) as follows:


The Point of Contact for Test Windows

Agencies are requested to send all questions to the CMB mailbox at CMB will facilitate the proper handling of all questions through the NFC Development Staff once testing has begun.

Last Updated / Reviewed: December 20, 2023