MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL AIR RESERVE STATION, Minn. —
To save paper and time, the Air Force Reserve Command is moving from the old Reserve Travel System to the digital Defense Travel System.
“The transition reason is to reduce the time it takes to process a voucher,” Rodney Schaffer, the 934th Airlift Wing Financial Management quality assurance manager, said. “RTS gets put into the system and then it pays out in two to three weeks. With DTS, it’s already in the system and they create the authorization. It pays out in three days.”
On Oct. 1, 2023, AFRC completed this transformational effort across the whole command to efficiently streamline the process. Additionally, DTS will help Airmen who habitually commute to unit training assembly recoup travel pay faster and not be reliant on RTS.
As reported by AFRC, “The decision to fully implement DTS more closely aligns the Reserve with Active Duty while also allowing us to compensate our members for travel expenses in a much timelier manner,” said Col. Shannon Thompson, AFRC’s director of financial management and comptroller. “While the legacy travel systems were serviceable for their time, they no longer meet the needs of the force and often resulted in significant payment delays.”
At the 934 AW, with RTS, there would always be a massive amount of backlogged travel vouchers.
“We have over 300 vouchers that come in on one weekend,” he said. “That bogs the system down and doesn’t allow us to pay out. With DTS, more people have eyes on and therefore, these vouchers will get pushed out quickly.”
While the interface may be a little challenging to grasp initially, with more experience, the average reservist will catch on quickly. After working with DTS for over eight years, Schaffer said that the progression will ultimately lead to a more proficient travel voucher process for everyone involved.
“We have always told people to embrace DTS because it is the way of the future,” said Schaffer.
The starting point for this process is the service member. Airmen will initiate their vouchers in DTS and the extent of the Airmen’s role in the system is inputting their travel expenses. Then, the rest goes onto the financial management Airmen overseeing the payment system. Payment will come promptly, barring any issues.
The only vouchers that will remain in the RTS will be deployment, basic military training, and permanent change of station vouchers.
“We’re laser focused on this initiative because it affects the readiness of all of our members,” said Thompson. “We’re here to assist during the transition and remain confident this will ultimately serve as a more efficient travel and pay process for all Reservists.”
Anyone from the 934 AW with concerns or questions about DTS can reach out to Dennis Carter, the 934 AW FM craftsman, at 612-783-1439.