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New Defense Travel System coming soon

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- The 22nd Air Refueling Wing will soon join other Air Force organizations that are already using the new Defense Travel System. First envisioned in the mid-1990s, DTS was first fielded in 2001 at 27 pilot sites and is now supporting hundreds of thousands of Department of Defense military and civilian personnel worldwide.

Among the benefits DTS brings to travelers, authorizing officials, managers and commanders include: fast electronic reimbursement of travel expenses; approvals and certifications tied directly to mission; a significant reduction in time spent administering travel; reduced paperwork; and the automated payment of government charge cards.

December 24, 2003, DTS became the official DoD temporary duty travel system and was approved for fielding to the entire Defense Department.

In the words of the DTS Program Director Col. Brandy Johnson, "By the end of fiscal year 2006 we will deploy DTS to the most high-volume travel sites within DoD. It will take time to deploy DTS to all of the DoD, but the process is well underway.

" The Program Management Office working in close coordination with the Services and DoD Agencies is backing up those words with action. As of the end of April 2006 DTS began deploying to 243 of the approximately 280 major high-volume-travel locations planned for deployment across the DoD by the end of fiscal year 2006.

In addition, numerous smaller sites have self-deployed DTS with limited assistance from the program management office. DTS is being used at more than 7,250 sites worldwide with more than 940,000 personnel signed up to use the system, and has processed more than 1.9 million approved authorizations and more than 1.6 million approved vouchers.

It is envisioned that DTS will be deployed to approximately 11,000 DoD locations by the end of Fiscal Year 2006, at which point DTS will support more than 90 percent of all DoD business travel.

Colonel Johnson described DTS as "a state-of-the-art system … that draws from the best features of commercial travel technology and links them to the DoD financial and accounting systems to provide the user a seamless, responsive financial and travel management system."

She further explained, "DTS will mean online TDY travel for virtually every person in the DoD, both civilian and military. This is a quality of life issue for our people. They deserve DTS."

-- Fast, electronic reimbursement of travel expenses.

This is a priority item. As Colonel Johnson put it, "Why should our travelers be financing our operations? That's what happens, in effect, if we don't reimburse them promptly."

Thanks to DTS, DoD will now be able to reimburse its business travelers quickly and electronically.

-- Work site approvals and certifications.

DTS places approval of travel arrangements and certification of travel vouchers at the traveler's work site instead of at a servicing finance location. This places the authority to make travel decisions with the leaders and managers responsible for completing the mission.

-- Significant reduction in the time spent administering travel.

Reports to Congress based on field-testing of DTS indicate that on average the time spent administering travel is cut to one-third of what it had been before DTS. Saving time also means saving money.

-- Reduced paperwork.

As DoD's single end-to-end electronic solution for Defense business travel, DTS is, in fact, online travel. DTS provides electronic connectivity between the traveler, the authorizing official, the service/agency accounting and disbursing systems, the local comptroller's budget, the commercial travel service provider, the commercial bank card service and the electronic archive of travel-related documents, to include required travel receipts. This electronic connectivity and archival process eliminates the reams of paperwork previously required for business travel.

-- Automated payment of government charge cards.

This attribute makes DTS easier for military services and defense agencies. It takes much of the after-the-fact bill paying responsibility away from the traveler, and will work to reduce those delinquencies that are caused by having the extra delay in the payment/repayment chain. Once a voucher is approved for payment, reimbursement
for expenses charged to the traveler's government charge card is made electronically
directly to the traveler's individual account.

To learn more about the capabilities and functionalities of DTS, visit the Defense Travel System Travel Center Website at www.dtstravelcenter.DoD.mil.