System streamlines Air Force travel processing

System streamlines Air Force travel processing

Active-duty Air Force travelers can look forward to more accurate and secure records, universal e-mail copies of vouchers and possibly faster payouts, thanks to the Air Force Reserve.

Financial management offices though-out the Air Force began using Air Force Reserve Command’s Reserve Travel System March 31. Air National Guard offices are expected to go online in July.

“The Reserve Travel System is the only travel computation system that specifically addresses the varied needs and requirements for Reserve travel vouchers, including multiple orders and changes in status,” said Penny Meredith-Pogue, chief of the Financial Systems Branch at Headquarters AFRC, Robins Air Force Base, Ga. “RTS also computes travel vouchers for civilians and active-duty people, as well as vouchers for civilian and military permanent-change-of-station moves.”

Sixteen Air Force Reserve travel offices have been using the Windows-based application since 1998, and eight active-duty sites adopted the system between 2000 and 2002. The active-duty sites began using the system because they process so many travel vouchers for reservists.

“The Reserve Travel System is a great example of the Air Force Reserve and active-duty force working together within Air Force financial management,” said Lt. Col. Patrick A Coe, director of the Air Force Accounting and Finance Office in Denver. “Air Force-wide use of the RTS will benefit us all in several ways. It has a wider range of functions than the alternatives, including making it easier for active-duty bases to process Reserve travel transactions.”

Michael Punch, a systems accountant in Headquarters AFRC’s Financial Systems Branch, said travel offices will like the system because it accounts for funds better than other systems and it is easier to enter data, find data and generate reports. Other benefits include the ability to bring in more data automatically and send e-mail vouchers using fewer manual steps.

Travel office people type the travel voucher information into the Reserve Travel System on a desktop computer, which sends file information to the local accounting and disbursing offices as well as Government Travel Card offices. All of the computers are tied to a main system. Active-duty offices will link to the Air Force leave Web server.

“The Reserve Travel System is very user-friendly and self-explanatory,” said Judy Matthews, a travel voucher examiner at McGuire AFB, N.J. “We got the system in November 2002, and I learned it from scratch. It makes sense to me.

“Within four weeks a person should be able to load and process travel vouchers,” she said. “The system is automated.

It makes a lot of the decisions for you.”

Ten years ago officials in the Air Force Reserve headquarters’ Financial Management Directorate set out to find an automated system to replace processing vouchers by hand.

“They realized that what was available didn’t meet the Air Force Reserve’s needs, so in-house contractors designed a DOS-based system,” Ms. Meredith-Pogue said. “That system was re-engineered into our current 32-bit Windows-based client server application. Eight people from the headquarters worked on the new system so it would improve productivity and provide consistent, reliable service.” (Jim Miller, Air Force Reserve Command public affairs, Robins AFB)

COPYRIGHT 2004 Air Force Reserves

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group