Washington, DC – Today Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Vic Snyder(D-AR) and Ranking Member Rob Wittman (R-VA) released the following statement following yesterday’s subcommittee hearing on the Defense Travel System:

 “The Department of Defense spends between 9 to 10 billion dollars a year on defense travel, and the Defense Travel System (DTS) is supposed to be the single end-to-end travel system throughout DOD.  While some progress has been made to ensure that DTS is operating efficiently and effectively, problems with requirements management, cost-efficiency, under-utilization, and user-friendliness continue to plague the system. 

 “Yesterday’s hearing on DTS illuminated the progress that the Department has made in the past year, as well as the problems that persist.  DOD witnesses updated the committee on progress that has been made with enhanced capabilities in DTS, but admitted that they still allow several legacy systems to operate, despite a March 2008 order from the Secretary of Defense requiring that DTS be used. 

 “GAO also noted that some progress has been made to enhance the requirements management and cost-efficiency of DTS, but that DOD still has a long way to go before DTS is operating in a reliable, efficient, user-friendly way.  In particular, GAO identified that several legacy systems are still in use, and that 400,000 vouchers were processed last year through legacy systems instead of DTS.  This is an inefficient use of taxpayer money, costing the Department over $35 per voucher more processed through legacy systems than through DTS.

 “DOD also admitted to internal discrepancies in trying to identify the universe of legacy systems; while the Defense Travel Management Office listed 23 legacy systems, the Services only listed 12 legacy systems in use.  Further, DOD could not identify the funding sources for its legacy systems, and GAO could only find funding for 3 legacy systems in DOD’s budget documents.

 “LMI Government Consulting data and DOD data differed on how user-friendly the current DTS is, with LMI citing the statistic that only 42 percent of DOD travelers can successfully book a trip.  DOD stated that it plans to expand DTS capabilities in 2009, and then focus on making the system more user-friendly in 2010. 

 “It is imperative for the Department to identify the universe of legacy systems still operating and provide the committee with funding information for those systems.  Related to this, the Department has to focus on enforcing the Secretary of Defense’s mandate to use DTS, but at the same time make DTS easier for DOD travelers to use.  This subcommittee will continue to track progress informally in the short term and hold another formal hearing next year.”