Defense Travel System.
With the increased number of DTS sites, the demands on technical Help Desk support have increased significantly. Help Desk support for DTS is a three-tiered process. The first tier is at the traveler/user level. Problems or issues that cannot be resolved by the traveler/user are elevated to Tier 2, found at the DTA level at the fielded site. The third tier of support, which handles the technical software and hardware issues, is a coordinated effort at the PMO-DTS and Northrop Grumman level. As the number of sites using DTS has increased, the PMO has worked in close coordination with Northrop Grumman to ensure that we have increased staffing to accommodate the increased workload. User issues are evaluated quickly, priorities are established and timely action is taken to address all issues. This process generates numerous changes to processes, procedures, business rules and software. Depending on the significance of the change, corrections or adjustments may be applied immediately, in the next routinely scheduled maintenance release, or deferred until the release of the next complete version of software.
Last year we were pleased and excited to report that DTS had migrated to a totally web-based system with the look and feel of the commercial travel industry. We are still using the Enhanced Jefferson software with improvements resulting from a steady stream of user input. From their desktop, travelers create electronic travel requests based on real-time access to available air, domestic rail, hotel, and rental car information that fits within the parameters of approved DoD business rules. Travel requests are routed electronically for approval. Expense vouchers are filed electronically subsequent to completion of travel and routed to proper approving officials. Payments for approved travel expenses are made within three to five days to the government charge card company with the remainder paid by electronic funds transfer to the traveler. All financial transactions are directed to appropriate DoD systems with limited human intervention and all records are then electronically archived, to include copies of required receipts. The entire travel process maximizes use of web technology and is accomplished in an electronically secure environment.
We have steadily improved both the user friendliness and functionality of the system with regularly occurring software change packages. These change packages are the result of lessons learned by the increasing number of users in the field, the experiences of our trainers and fielders working with the system on a daily basis and the continuing efforts of our technical team at Northrop Grumman. As more travelers become familiar with DTS they are finding areas still needing improvement and in many cases are suggesting the changes necessary to facilitate those improvements.
THE ROAD AHEAD
DTS continues to mature. New and improved functionalities will be added to DTS as it evolves through its planned multi-year, spiral development. Northrop Grumman will complete initial development of the next major software release, Madison, and deliver in August. The PMO and the US Army Test and Evaluation Command, an independent test agency, will then perform tests to verify engineering changes with the accounting system interfaces. We anticipate those test results in November with the initial release to all sites in December 2004.
We are proud of the continued progress DTS has made over the last year. We have faced many new and different challenges, but the DTS team has remained focused on its vision of providing a world-class end-to-end travel system that supports mission accomplishment with superior service at lower cost while meeting the needs of travelers, commanders and process owners throughout the Department of Defense.
For more information on DTS, please visit our website at www.defensetravel.osd.mil.
by Colonel Brandy Johnson, USAF, Program Director, Defense Travel System
* This article has been condensed due to limitations in space