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DOD Plans Return to 'Defense Travel System'

By C. Todd Lopez

WASHINGTON (June 13, 2023) -- In a memorandum released last month, the Defense Department announced that previous directions to begin using the new MyTravel system have been repealed, and agencies should instead return to using the existing Defense Travel System. 

"DOD organizations currently using MyTravel are no longer required to use the system," wrote Gilbert R. Cisneros Jr., undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, in a memorandum dated May 24. "Additionally, DOD organizations may suspend the planning and implementation of future financial system integrations." 

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Both the Defense Travel System, or DTS, and MyTravel, are web-based applications that allow military and civilian personnel within the military services and DOD to plan official government travel.  

The systems automate the booking of flights, lodging and rental cars and also produce official travel orders. When returning from a trip, the systems allow for the documenting of expenses and the generation of vouchers so travelers can be compensated for their expenses. 

The Defense Travel System has been in use within the department for about 25 years. Before that, travel was planned using paper forms and telephones. 

In August 2018, the department announced it had selected SAP Concur's software as a service product, later branded as MyTravel, to replace DTS.  And in an October 2022 memorandum, Cisneros directed DOD travelers to begin using MyTravel, when possible.  

That direction has now been rescinded. Instead, travelers are instructed to use DTS for all new travel that ends after July 13, 2023. 

Cisneros said DOD will cease MyTravel operations in September 2023. 

Officials within the DOD's Defense Human Resources Activity said continued development of the MyTravel system is no longer in the best interests of the Department. 

Reasons for that include decreases in travel due to COVID-19, increases in virtual meetings, and a shift in departmental focus to achieving a clean financial audit. 

According to a DOD press release, the department spends about $9 billion annually on travel, with temporary duty travel comprising about 70 percent of all travel vouchers. 

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