TRW Gets Go-Ahead on Defense Travel System

TRW Inc. got the green light from the Pentagon to deploy the $263.7 million Defense Travel System throughout the agency and across the services.

TRW announced July 25 that the system received a favorable review from a Defense Department panel convened in February to assess performance issues that emerged during testing in October 2000.

The company has resumed field testing at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota, where the system is installed.

The decision to move forward was outlined in a July 17 memo signed by Pentagon Comptroller Dov Zakheim and E.C. Aldridge, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics.

"The assessment has been completed and has validated both the functional and technical viability of the DTS program, and concludes the DTS will meet our future temporary duty travel authorization, arrangements, payment and accounting requirements, while providing broad benefits to the department," Zakheim and Aldridge said in the memo.

The memo said that once deployed at a particular site, the travel system will be the single standard for temporary duty travel requirements.

The five-year contract originally was awarded in May 1998 to BDM International, which was subsequently acquired by Cleveland-based TRW. The contract encountered its first delay when the only other bidder, Electronic Data Systems Corp., Plano, Texas, appealed the award decision to the General Accounting Office. Work was suspended on the project until September 1998, when the GAO denied EDS' appeal.

The system was to be operating by December 2000, but the live test turned up problems, leading to the Pentagon review.

"We are completely committed to delivering this revolutionary electronic system that will transform DoD's travel process," said Donald Winter, president and chief executive officer of TRW Systems, the division handling the project.

DTS is intended to allow personnel to generate travel authorizations, make reservations and route travel requests for approval from their desktop workstations. The system is paperless and uses Defense Department public key infrastructure certificates to digitally sign documents.

When the trip is complete, the traveler files a voucher that is electronically routed for approval and sent to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service. An electronic funds transfer to the traveler's bank account will complete the process.

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