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Defense Travel System Evolves to Better Serve Customers

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 4, 2006 – The Defense Travel System continues to evolve as it efficiently serves military and civilian travelers on official department business, a senior military officer said yesterday.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Air Force Col. Lynne T. Hamilton-Jones (left), the Defense Travel System’s program management office director, and Mike Beghtol, PMO chief of communications, check out the online DTS site Oct. 3 during a demonstration at the Defense Travel System Office in Arlington, Va. Photo by Gerry J. Gilmore
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

DTS is “an end-to-end, secure, integrated financial-management system that automates the temporary duty (travel) process for DoD,” said Air Force Col. Lynne T. Hamilton-Jones, program management office director at the Defense Travel System Office, in Arlington, Va.

“DTS works,” Hamilton-Jones emphasized, noting the system is available around the clock to provide superior customer service.

The automated system administers authorization, reservation, voucher and reimbursement processes for DoD’s business travelers, Hamilton-Jones said. It also accelerates travel-related task processing time for customers, she said, while saving taxpayer dollars.

People on official DoD travel orders are required to use DTS to make their airline ticket, lodging, rental car, and other travel arrangements, Hamilton-Jones said.

The automated system began as a pilot program in June 2001, the colonel said. Now accessed at more than 8,700 sites, DTS is slated to expand to more than 12,000 sites by the end of fiscal 2007, she said.

DTS has undergone many fine-tunings designed to provide better customer service since the system was implemented worldwide in 2003, Hamilton-Jones said. In November, DTS will introduce more upgraded features, such as fewer pages for travelers to fill out, she noted.

More than 50,000 customers log in to access DTS daily, Hamilton-Jones said, noting the system processes more than 7,000 travel authorizations and about 6,500 vouchers each day.

DTS usage “continues to increase significantly, as we continue to evolve the system and increase overall functionality,” she said. “The more users we have for the system, the more costs will be reduced overall for DoD.”

Most DoD travelers will spend about 15 to 20 minutes arranging a trip using the DTS web site, Hamilton-Jones said. That’s a vast savings in time compared to previous processes when travelers had to make airline and hotel reservations over the telephone and fill out reams of travel-voucher paperwork, she noted.

System customers “can take care of all of their travel needs and basically get reimbursed between four-and-a-half and five days,” the colonel said. “I really encourage people to use it.”

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