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Automated TDY travel: Defense department moves to full use of the defense travel system.

The Defense Travel System has received a sweeping endorsement from the Department of Defense that will allow full implementation in the near future.

Under Secretaries of Defense Dov Zakheim and E.C. "Pete" Aldridge announced they have determined that the Defense Travel System is functionally and technically viable and will provide "broad benefits to the (Defense) Department."

The message went in a memorandum to the Secretaries of the Army, Navy and Air Force, the Directors of all Defense Agencies, and other high-level Defense officials. "(Defense Travel System) will meet our future temporary duty travel authorization, arrangements, payment and accounting requirements," said the memorandum.

Current plans call for 10 Defense Travel System pilot sites to be fielded in fiscal year 2002, and for full deployment to begin in fiscal year 2003. The system will be the "single standard for satisfying temporary duty travel requirements," said the memorandum.

To facilitate that process, the Department of Defense ordered a full operational assessment. The assessment began in late July at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., and has achieved great success. "This has been a significant event for the 28th Bomber Wing, the Air Force and the entire Department of Defense," said Maj. Randy Howard, Commander, 28th Comptroller Squadron.

The system has had a thorough test at Ellsworth, said Col. Larry Schaefer, Program Director, Defense Travel System. "The system was thoroughly tested at Ellsworth to ensure an effective travel system is delivered to the Department of Defense community," said Schaefer.

The Ellsworth assessment clearly shows that the system can be successfully fielded to facilitate the business travel of Defense members, civilian and military, said Col. Alan Tomson, Chief, Defense Travel System Fielding Team.

There are many success stories from users, said Tomson, who have experienced the system at DTS-Limited at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, MD, the Marine Corps Air Station, Beaufort, SC, or at Ellsworth. "They would not voluntarily go back to pre-Defense Travel System travel arrangements for love or money," said Tomson.

He gives one example of the speed of the system in meeting operational needs. An aircraft maintenance emergency in July required Staff Sgt. Michael Bennett, of Ellsworth's 37th Bomber Squadron, to immediately travel to Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. He got the news at 8 am. Bennett's authorizing official, Staff Sgt. Alan Andrews, created and signed the trip request in 16 minutes. Then, Andrews contacted the American Express Defense Travel Center in Nashville, TN. The center booked Bennett on a commercial flight leaving Rapid City, which is near Ellsworth, at 10 am. While Staff Sgt. Bennett was in the air, the center worked quickly to get him lodging near his flight crew. The reservation information was forwarded to Columbus Air Force Base and was waiting for Bennett when he arrived. "The rapid, coordinated mission-driven support provided to the 37th Bomber Squadron by the Defense Travel System -- and by the people on the ground operating it -- is what we intend to be the standard for Defense travelers in the future, when the system is fully implemented," said Schaefer.

Colonel Larry J. Schaefer recently assumed the program director position for the Defense Travel System. He leads program office and contractor personnel in the development and deployment of the reengineered process for defense temporary duty (TDY) travel.

Col Schaefer is a certified acquisition professional with seventeen years of acquisition experience.
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Author:Schaefer, Larry J.
Publication:Defense Transportation Journal
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2001
Previous Article:U.S. Airways. (Corporate news).
Next Article:A-35.

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