Fightertown hosts first lead DTAs meeting

2 Sep 2005 | Cpl. Anthony Guas

More than 70 lead Defense Travel Administrators from around the Marine Corps visited the Air Station for a meeting, Aug. 25-26.

Fightertown was the first Marine Corps installation to host a Lead Defense Travel Administrators meeting, which was held to help them become better acquainted with the Defense Travel System.

“The purpose of this meeting was to get everybody face-to-face,” said Ludovic Lopez, the lead DTA for the Air Station. “We got together to talk about agenda items and learn from each other.”

The lead travel administrator for each Marine Corps installation is the person in charge of the Defense Travel System for their base, according to Lopez. The system is used for service members when they go on Temporarily Assigned Duty.

Before the meeting, the lead travel administrators had to rely on phone conversations, which were unsuitable for most people, according to Lopez.

“Before we would talk for maybe two hours on the phone,” Lopez said. “That really limited our productivity. Having a meeting is more productive and helps us learn more.”

During the meeting the lead travel administrators discussed topics such as debt management, updates about DTS and training and support, according to Lopez.

“We discussed many subjects and got a lot accomplished,” Lopez said. “We also discussed  the Marine Corps order coming out about DTS.”

The Defense Travel System delivers real, measurable results and makes the travel process faster, easier, and better than ever before, according to the DTS website:

“Travelers within all four services are saving time and money using DTS," said Rich Fabbre, the DTS Program Manager for Northrop Grumman Mission Systems, based in Reston, Va. "Proven and effective fielding procedures are now in place that permit smooth implementation of DTS at these sites, making both users and administrators extremely pleased with the system.”

Before switching to DTS, travel orders were done manually on a piece of paper that required a long process to complete and approve, according to Lopez.

“The old way was time consuming and cost a lot more money,” Lopez said. “Now people can just click and create travel orders online.”

The Defense Travel System automates the three Department of Defense travel processes: authorization, reservation and voucher filing, according to the DTS Web site. Using DTS, travelers are able to generate travel authorizations, make trip reservations, and route travel requests for approval, all from their desktop workstation. The system is paperless and uses DoD Public Key Infrastructure certificates for digital signatures as required.

Not only is the process faster, but service members receive their pay quickly, according to Lopez.

“Marines get paid a lot quicker now because it goes straight into (DFAS),” Lopez said. “Once it’s approved it takes 24-48 hours as opposed to weeks.”

Since the Marine Corps is switching to DTS, it has placed more emphasis on having the lead DTAs trained and ready to use the system, according to Lopez.

The sponsor of the meeting, Marine Corps Systems Command, plans on making the meeting an annual event at different locations, according to Lopez.

“I think the meeting was very productive,” Lopez said. “It gave the lead DTAs a chance to express their concerns and learn from each others experiences.”