Today Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen announced award of the first contract for reengineered travel services within the Department of Defense.
BDM International, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of TRW International, has been selected to provide the Defense Travel System Region 6 contract for official travel.
The estimated contract is valued at $263.7 million.
The new contract is designed to cut costs and improve customer service and satisfaction.
Award of today's contract begins actual implementation of the Department of Defense's effort to reengineer its temporary duty travel practices under the auspices of Vice President Gore's National Performance Review.
"This contract is an outstanding example of commitment to best business practices, outlined in the Defense Reform Initiative I unveiled last November," Secretary Cohen stated.
The new travel system will be fielded worldwide throughout the Department of Defense by 2001.
The Department will also make the new travel program available to other federal government agencies.
Administrative overhead on DoD travel is currently about 30 percent compared to 8 percent or less in the private sector.
When adopted nationwide, new DoD travel procedures will save about $300 million annually, Cohen estimated.
"This contract puts in place an automated approach to travel that mirrors the best practices of industry," said Deputy Secretary of Defense John Hamre, who has sponsored the Travel Reengineering Initiative.
He continued, "When tested in a pilot program, this new approach to travel resulted in traveler reimbursement in half the time; processing in half the steps; and overall administration in one-third the time.
Costs fell 65 percent and customer satisfaction improved dramatically."
Previously DoD travel was handled manually in separate processes.
Individual approvals were required for authorizing travel; arranging accommodations; making travel expenditures; preparing and processing vouchers based on paper receipts and other supporting documents; and reconciling accounts.
Office procedures for travel included up to 25 separate steps taking hours of time for each traveler.
The new system simplifies the rules, decentralizes authority to approve travel, and builds internal controls into customer-friendly software.
The contract provides for the full range of integrated travel administration services through a common user interface: from pre-travel arrangements to trip authorization to payment.
This common user interface, based on commercially available products, will be available to DoD personnel around the world.
It will feature data banks of information on hotel, airline, and rental car availability; travel regulations; and numerous other requirements for start to stop travel administration.
For example, instead of wading through pages of travel regulations, travelers will use software that pops up "policy exceptions" for approval.
These packages will utilize electronic commerce/electronic data interchange technology to form a seamless, paperless process.
Initially, the contract will be implemented in Defense Travel Region 6, which is composed of the following eleven states: Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
This area includes approximately 200,000 DoD travelers.
BDM International, Inc. was selected as the vendor providing the best overall value.
Major corporate members on the BDM Travel XXI Team include American Express; GELCO Information Network, Inc.; G2 Software Systems, Inc; HCI Technologies Inc; MCR Federal, Inc.; Oracle Corp.; and Sun Microsystems Computer Co.
The contract covers a five-year period (1998-2002) with three option years.
Contract award was handled by the Military Traffic Management Command.
Editor's Note: Additional information on the Defense Travel System is available at http://www.dtic.mil/travelink/.