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CHIPS Articles: Defense Travel Made Easier and More Secure

Defense Travel Made Easier and More Secure
DON CIO First in DoD to Utilize CAC with DTS
By Kim Plyler - April-June 2002
A long-awaited travel system aimed at bringing official government travel for military and civilians into the Internet age has arrived for the Department of the Navy. The Defense Travel System (DTS) is designed to simplify temporary duty travel, or TDY, by serving as a "one-stop shopping" network to allow government travelers to book reservations as well as track their expenses and reimbursements from their desktop computers. The Department of the Navy Chief Information Office (DON CIO) is implementing the system and is the first in the Department of Defense (DoD) to use it with the Common Access Card (CAC).

The DTS vision is a seamless, paperless system that meets the needs of individual travelers, commanders and process owners. It is designed to reduce costs to the government, support defense mission requirements and provide superior customer service to traveler and command alike. "The use of the CAC will increase both the level of security and the ease of use of DTS. It is a perfect fit with our vision of using the digital credentials on the CAC to unlock a number of Web based self service transactions for our Sailors, Marines, and civilians," said Dave Wennergren, Department of the Navy Deputy CIO for Enterprise Integration, and Security.

The military's current travel system is anything but paperless, relying on printed orders, paper vouchers, receipts and other documents. The new system should cut average reimbursement time from 11 days to 5. Reimbursement requests will require 21 steps instead of today's 40, and processing times are expected to average one hour and 42 minutes, rather than today's four hours and 36 minutes.

Among the advantages of the DTS is direct interface with the Defense Finance & Accounting Service and a streamlined travel reporting process. Travel requests are routed electronically from the traveler to the appropriate supervisor for approval and digital signature. When travelers return, they file claims from their desktop computers. Reimbursement is normally made within 72 hours of approval from the organization's authorizing official and can be paid to travelers' individual charge cards or personal bank accounts.

The vision for the system is that eventually DTS users DoD-wide will be able to access the system from their own computer, and the paperless process will be done quickly and efficiently. "This is a significant event for the DON CIO, the Department of the Navy, and the entire Department of Defense," said Wennergren.

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