That's a bad idea

Your assertions and arguments in the editorial, 'Why roll your own?' [GCN, Aug. 21, Page 32], are rolling down the wrong road. Contrary to your premise, the Defense Travel System is a large, commercial, off-the-shelf system.

DTS was not developed from scratch. Designed to interface with the Defense Department's public key infrastructure, DTS is fully PKI-enabled.

We concur with your argument that 'any commercial package would need some customizing.' That is exactly what TRW Inc. is doing.

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TRW's integration effort is based on Travel Manager from Gelco Information Network of Eden Prairie, Minn. To customize this commercial product for the Defense Department, TRW has added interfaces to numerous government and commercial entities such as DOD's PKI, Defense Table of Distances, accounting and disbursement systems, credit card vendors and commercial travel offices'to name a few.

Time and again, TRW has successfully demonstrated DTS' ability to use DOD PKI certificates for both user authentication and digital signatures. We actively participate in DOD PKI working groups.

To suggest that DOD should piggyback on the Transportation Department's governmentwide travel system is like comparing an airliner with a jet fighter. Although both will get you from Point A to Point B, each offers different capabilities to meet mission and customer needs.

DOT's system does not currently require stringent security features, does not provide an end-to-end system capability and does not interface to multiple commercial and government entities.

When complete, DTS will give DOD a fully automated, seamless and paperless system that will serve 3.2 million customers and process an average of 5.9 million vouchers a year.

Rich Fabbre

Defense Travel System program manager for the systems and information technology group

TRW Inc.

Fairfax, Va.


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