Tuesday, June 01, 2021

I Have Not Come to Bury DTS, but to Yell at it

Since I left active duty I really have not had all that much time to yell at DTS. I mostly just laugh at it from a distance as it was no longer my problem ... at least not directly.

DTS has been horrible from day one. I know it. You know it. Worse, those who promoted and enforced it know as well. But, they didn't really care enough to do anything about it ... until it was a teenager. 

I am just old enough to remember how an efficient system worked. LT Salamander went to Admin and told a PN3/YNSN or whoever had the billet, “I need to travel to Norfolk with OPS for this conference (hands hard copy of message and travel request form). We need to leave next Monday AM. The conference runs through late WED, so if we can get home that night, great, if not the next AM. If possible, we should be able to stay at the hotel there, as per the message. If not, closer the better. We’ll need a rental car too. Thanks.”

Within 24-hrs, all was set up. You went. When you came back, you put your travel claim in the PN3/YNSN’s in basket. If you screwed things up, you’d get a call or more likely, they would just fix it for you.

I also remember the time before the scam that was/is government travel cards. You got an advance, if needed, but more often than not used your own personal card and then filed receipts for things that could be reimbursed.

Government travel cards ... talk about an administrative burden ... but a different topic for a different day, perhaps. 

But no, the system that worked would not do. That wasn’t … well, you know the buzzwords. We sure couldn’t use COTS either. Oh, no.

You can see a few of my historical references to DTS via the DTS tag here, but let’s go back to the start and see how we’ve progressed since my post in January 2006 (yes, over a decade and a half ago), I wrote this.

I know a guy who is going on TDY to New Zealand. He wants to take his wife. SATO using DTS quotes the round trip of $4,000. Well, he wants wifey to come along, and using their own research on her ticket they knew that tickets on that flight were about $1900. He told the SATO folks and she said she was glad to find out. It seems that DTS doesn't look for the best price, though the flight info was from Travelocity as clear as day, but DTS doesn't have that same info.

Classic example. Gov'munt contract for something that already exists in industry. Can't outsource because the GS unions wouldn't have that ..... don't be shocked. Just more taxpayer money thrown away. If you think I am babbling, or you want to get upset - click here and here.

You don't want to know my story. Trust me - it is so bad - I really don't want to go over it.

What is the latest DTS update? 

Via the ever-wonderful Doctrine Man

So, when it was announced recently that the Pentagon is preparing to sole-source the contract to replace the Defense Travel System (a process that began three years ago), you might expect a rousing roar of approval from the masses. Masses, worth noting, that have been subjected to three decades of a system so convoluted and capricious that it was euphemistically known to many as the “Don’t Travel System.” But most of us who spent those decades with the Defense Travel System also understand that any replacement—even Defense Travel Modernization—is still going to be subject to the same arcane travel regulations and the same human error. That translates to a fairly high likelihood that even though the system itself might be a significant improvement over its Quasimodo-like predecessor, many of the frustrations common to official travel will remain.

Everyone knew DTS was bad from almost the start … but here we are over a decade and a half later for a resolution … and it won’t resolve the core of the problem.

That tells you a lot about the dysfunction in DC. Tells you a lot about why we seem frozen in aspic when it comes to bringing the fleet what it needs to win ... or hell, just travel to Norfolk and back without expending half a work-day setting up and resolving the travel for a 3-day trip. 

Our ossified and accretion burdened bureaucracy has lost the bubble on why it exists in the first place. 

Quod erat demonstrandum.

Let us hope we learned our lesson with DTS and bring the fleet something that saves time, money, and headaches. I am a closet optimist. We’ll see.

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