A new electronic travel system being fielded in Europe will save time and eliminate paperwork on routine temporary duty travel.

The Defense Travel System, or DTS, enables Department of Defense civilians and servicemembers to initiate and update travel requests and fill out travel claims electronically for routine TDY, which does not include leisure travel or unit deployments, according to Teela Finch, DTS Army Europe program manager.

The system can be used, however, by servicemembers going on temporary duty to make way for a unit deployment, she said, such as members of advance parties. The system cuts down the amount of time it takes to create a travel order and to process the travel claim, Finch said.

“The turnaround time (for creating travel orders) in Europe varies, but usually takes seven to 10 days,” she said. “With DTS, the orders can be cut in less than three days because it is done electronically.”

Travel claims, which on paper can take weeks to process, would be processed in up to three days through the DTS, Finch said.

Initial fielding of DTS began in 2004, and teams from DTS Army Europe are now conducting training at various Army communities in Europe.

The system is running in Heidelberg and in some units in Mannheim. Other communities will be trained on DTS throughout the year, Finch said.

The system allows civilian employees and servicemembers who have registered with DTS to initiate their own travel orders. However, they cannot register until the system has been implemented in their community, Finch said.

A unit representative, such as the company commander or first sergeant, must still approve and digitally sign the order, and the traveler also digitally signs. Any updates to the travel order can be done online.

The traveler’s travel credit card number is linked to the order, so payment can be made electronically, Finch said.

In Mannheim, Capt. Matthew Smith from the 1st Battalion, 214th Aviation Regiment said it took a couple of months to get the system running after it was fielded there in October.

“Initially, we had to take some time to work out the bugs and make sure that all of our soldiers were registered and had [common access cards] and [personal identification numbers] to digitally sign the requests,” Smith said. “It’s very easy to use, and it will make things so much more efficient for travelers.”

The electronic system speeds things up because the traveler initiates the travel request and, when the TDY is complete, initiates the travel claim.

“It takes a day or two off of the order approval process, but the thing it really speeds up is processing the travel claim. The traveler will get their money back very quickly, and that is what the soldiers will like about it.”

Tentative DTS fielding schedule for EuropeJanuary through March: Ansbach, Bamberg, Hanau, Giessen, Vilseck, Grafenwöhr, Hohenfels, Kaiserslautern and Landstuhl, all in Germany.

April through June: Stuttgart, Garmisch, Hessen, Wiesbaden, Darmstadt, Baumholder, Pirmasens, Miesau, Kaiserslautern and Mannheim, all in Germany.

July through September: Würzburg, Schweinfurt, Kitzingen, Giebelstadt, Kaiserslautern in Germany; Italy, Belgium and England.

To find out when the DTS fielding team will be in your area, contact the 266th Finance Command at 379-5263, 379-5133, 379-5174 or 379-5166.

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