MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - -- Technology and convenience. Two separate words with two separate meanings. And yet, both have become synonymous with one another. Consider the cell phone. Without the cord, people are able to stay connected wherever they go. In keeping with the times, the Marine Corps has gradually been phasing out the old and implementing the new.
With the introduction of the Defense Travel System, Temporary Additional Duty orders will now be processed online.
The vision of DTS is to reengineer defense travel to a seamless, paperless, automated system that meets the needs of individual travelers, force commanders, and process owners. The new system will support defense mission requirements, provide superior customer service to the traveler and to the command, and reduce costs to the government.
Dealing with all the paperwork was what made the old system so cumbersome, according to Pamela A. Gaines, the lead defense travel administrator at the base disbursing office.
“Rather than having to physically go out and get the signatures, each member of a Marine’s chain of command is notified electronically. This enables them to give their stamp of approval from the comfort of their own workstation,” said Gaines.
From the moment a request is initially filed, it can be processed in as little as 24 to 48 hours later. In order to make this and the mission of DTS a reality, Headquarters Marine Corps invested $3.2 million into the project.
Upon declaration of initial operating capability, commands are to have DTS fully operational within 90 days and cease use of existing TAD travel processes, according to MARADMIN 068/05, signed Feb. 15, 2005.
Lance Corporal Heather L. Higgins, a TAD clerk with Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Base, has been using DTS for about a month now.
“Though it’s necessary, change is not always easy. Once the system is fully implemented and everyone is on board, using it will be much less problematic,” said Higgins.
One of the changes Marines need to be aware of is the utilization of their ID card. It must have the Marine’s current e-mail address as well as a valid pin number encoded. Without this, a TAD request cannot be processed through DTS. If a Marine needs to update their information, they can do so at the ID card center in Building 60.
For more information on DTS, the new era of government travel, visit the website at http://www.defensetravel.osd.mil.