DOD set to test travel system

About 200,000 Defense Department employees in 11 midwestern states will start planning
their trips through a new uniform temporary duty system, once it finishes operational
tests this year.


“We’ll go to Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., in April or May to test it live
with airmen on TDY before we turn the switch on,” said Army Col. Albert Arnold III,
the project manager.


The system will standardize TDY voucher payments despite the crazy-quilt nature of DOD
communications and data processing. “We’re buying services, but we won’t
own the system,” Arnold said. “We’ll own the data.”


Outsourcing the travel services was the best way to keep up with changing technology
and best industry practices, Arnold said.


TRW Inc. of McLean, Va., which last year won the $263.7 million Defense Travel System
contract, will own and maintain the travel application servers and secure gateway at its
Regional Data Center East in Fair Lakes, Va. The company’s C2-certified CyberShield
gateway and intrusion-detection and monitoring software will run on a Data General Corp.
Aviion 2000 server under DG-UX.


Users will log in from their computers using digital certificates provided by Defense
travel administrators. The transactions will travel over a virtual private network through
DOD’s T1 Non-Classified IP Router Network to TRW’s data center. Users also will
also dial in via 56-Kbps connections.


TRW will host the travel application on a pair of Sun Microsystems 6000 parallel
cluster servers running SunSoft Solaris 2.6 and the Gelco Travel Manager 7.1 application
from Gelco Information Network Inc. of Minneapolis. The digitally signed records will
reside in an Oracle8 database.


DOD users will access the travel system from their Microsoft Windows, browser or Telnet
screens. “Around the world they will see the same software interface with some slight
modifications because of the different technologies involved,” Arnold said.


The principal technical challenge will be scaling up the Gelco travel application, said
Leo Hergenroeder, the contractor’s deputy program manager. TRW also will have to make
frequent software updates to reflect travel policy changes.


“As the Joint Travel Regulations change, certain tables within the software will
change so that all vouchers are processed correctly,” Hergenroeder said.


TRW has modified the Travel Manager software by adding Digital Signature Standard
interfaces as well as interfaces to leading travel reservation systems, Hergenroeder said.


The travel system will have digital signature capabilities from RSA Data Security Inc.
of Redwood City, Calif. “When we interface with industry, we’ll have RSA
available,” Arnold said.


“When we interface with government entities, we’ll use DSS—it will be
automatic.” The system also will have electronic commerce interfaces to Defense
Finance and Accounting Service accounting and disbursing systems.


A split disbursement feature will deposit travel reimbursements in travelers’ bank
accounts via electronic funds transfer. Employees can choose to have the travel system pay
off their government charge card bills to NationsBank Visa.


The Defense Information Systems Agency will provide a medium-assurance public-key
infrastructure to manage digital signatures for electronic travel authorizations and
electronic vouchers. DISA licenses the Netscape Communications Corp. Certificate Server
and Directory Server, which are installed at the department’s Mechanicsburg, Pa., and
Denver data megacenters.


DOD expects substantial cost savings from replacing its multiple paper-based travel
systems. The Army Military Traffic Management Command, which awarded the Defense Travel
System contract, manages it.


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