Defense travel made easier with web-based system

20 Feb 2004 | Cpl. Kat Johnson

An improved system under the Department of Defense enables travelers on government orders to make travel arrangements from their desktop.

The Defense Travel System, is an evolving travel reengineering effort. The initial capability of DTS is already deployed and operational today at thirty-one sites, serving personnel from all military service and some defense agencies.  DTS has redesigned the existing travel program so authorizations, commercial reservations and vouchers for travel can be made from an individuals’ workstation.

The improved system was designed by the Department of Defense to reduce government travel costs and to create responsibilities and authorizations for travel at the lowest level.

The Defense Travel System has been in use aboard the Air Station since February 2001.  Since then  DTS has gone through an evolution of changes from a limited version with no accounting or commercial travel interface to a fully web enabled system.

The new enhanced system was first used aboard the station in June 2003, making Fightertown the first Marine Corps installation to implement the travel system’s latest design. 

Because of the success of this implementation, MCAS Beaufort has been used as a role model for other Marine Corps installations and services.

Travelers no longer need to complete travel requests; instead users can create their own travel documents if they have been issued a Public Key Infrastructure Certificate. The PKI enables users to create and sign all travel documents electronically. The certificates are personal identification numbers that require a secure internet connection for online access.

Once the document is signed, it will automatically route to an Authorizing Official, who will process it to the Defense Finance and Accounting Services office for funds disbursement.

For DoD employees without PKI access, designated members staffof their sections will be issued PKI Certificates to create and sign all travel documents on behalf of the traveler.

“Now, commercial air and hotel reservations along with car rentals can be made via the Defense Travel System,” said Ludovic Lopez, Defense Travel System Administrator, MCAS Beaufort.

“This is one of the most important aspects of the new system and it will make it easier for arrangements to be made that accommodate individual schedules.”

Public Key Infrastructure users will be able to access the improved travel system without downloading any additional software since DTS is a web-based system.

“This system will help eliminate the paper trail that travel claims produce,” Lopez said. “At the end of the trip, travelers can print submit their voucher from information already stored in the Defense Travel System.”

It should make administrators and users extremely pleased with the way they can make travel arrangements, according to Rich Fabbre, DTS Program Manager, at Northrop Grumman Mission Systems, Reston, Va.

“For the 3.5 million active duty military, reserve and civilian DoD members, this will surely save time and money,” Fabbre said.