New Software Streamlines TDY Process
By Sgt. 1st Class Doug Sample
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 26, 2003 A new software program being tested by the Defense Travel System will make arranging, paying and reimbursement for official government travel a speedy, seamless and almost paperless process.
Air Force Col. Larry Schaefer, DTS director, said a software program, called the "Enhanced Jefferson," is transforming the way the DoD does temporary-duty travel.
"The whole idea is that we are automating the TDY process for all of the Department of Defense," he added.
The Enhanced Jefferson, designed by Northrop Grumman's Mission Systems sector, allows DTS to operate similar to many online travel Web sites by providing government travelers information for selecting airlines, rental cars and lodging.
In addition, Schaefer said the Enhanced Jefferson also allows government travelers to complete their travel vouchers and compute costs of travel online from their workstation.
Using digital signatures for security, government travelers can log onto the DTS Web site and begin the travel authorization process by selecting the type of TDY travel, inputting departure and return dates, and making their travel arrangements, he explained.
The system automatically calculates per diem rates, to include meals and incidental expenses based on the destination of travel, he said. Upon return, travelers can also input information on additional expenses such as parking fees and mileage reimbursements.
Schaefer said that because the TDY voucher is already "pre-populated" with the traveler's information, "you can literally file a voucher within minutes."
He said the Enhanced Jefferson is an improvement over the manual paper process used throughout most of DoD, which he said has been a cumbersome process that often times included "40 or 50 steps." By comparison, the new DTS process has just seven steps, he said.
"The traveler will see that they get paid much quicker," he said. " Instead of the cumbersome manual processes of today, that require some significant amount of time, everything is done automatically, and saves time."
The Enhanced Jefferson is being tested at 20 pilot sites and awaiting final DoD approval before it can be implemented for use by all DoD travelers, Schaefer said.
Pilot sites include Ellis Air Force Base, S.D.; Beaufort Marine Corps Air Station, S.C.; Fort Campbell, Ky.; Camp Pendleton, Calif.; Fort McPherson, Atlanta, Ga.; Vance Air Force Base, Okla.; and Defense Security Cooperation Agency, Arlington, Va.
Schaefer said the new system is expected to be in place DoD wide by the fall 2006.
The DTS Web site can be found at http://www.defensetravel.com.