The Defense Travel System (DTS) will miss its Dec. 18 launch date and won't begin operations until next year, officials confirmed this week. In early October, DoD officials set a Dec. 18 deadline for initial deployment of the DTS system and began a series of tests by travelers at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. The tests showed that training, system set-up and help desk operations must be improved for DTS to be effective. "The test yielded important results in these areas and suggests more time is needed to refine and evaluate these processes relative to DTS," according to a statement prepared by U.S. Air Force Maj. Brent Calderwood, spokesman for the DTS project. DTS has missed several target deadlines since its conception in 1994. The system--which enables DoD employees to request authorization to travel, make arrangements and submit claims from their desktop computers--was developed in response to a 1993 report by the National Performance Review that called for an overhaul of the entire DoD travel system. DoD estimates the system will save it $99.6 million dollars annually within three years of deployment. The DTS contract, valued at $263.7 million over five years, was awarded in May 1998 to information technology firm BDM International, which TRW later acquired. The contract initially covers DoD Travel Region 6, which includes 11 states (Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin). DoD's current travel system uses paper vouchers, invoices and other supporting documents. In January 1995, DoD's Travel Reengineering Task Force found that DoD's travel system was fragmented, inefficient, expensive to administer and impeded the accomplishment of department activities.
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