The new law finally fixes the underlying legislative problems so that all agencies can reinvent their travel systems, one of NPR's initial recommendations. Implementation will save taxpayers hundreds of millions a year while improving government travel services. It does this by adopting the best travel practices in the private sector. The law:
Over the years, the General Accounting Office has highlighted the excessive cost of the government's travel system. Last year it pointed out that, while the Defense Department spent about $5 billion on its travel, it spent an additional 30 percent just to administer the system. Well-run travel systems in the private sector cost about six percent to administer.
Government reinventors do not have to look to the private sector for a model. In 1995, the National Security Agency's travel management operation, a reinvention lab, was selected by Business Travel News, the newspaper of the travel industry, as one of the four best in the country. NSA is right up there with Hewlett-Packard, Bankers Trust, and Texas Instruments. NSA's new process, including software under development, can be used by other agencies. Call Chip Mahan at (301) 688-3023.
A task force of the Joint Financial Management Improvement Program, a government-wide reinvention activity, developed the new legislation and implementing regulations. Call (202) 512-9201 for the name of a task force member who can discuss the travel provisions. Call (202) 512-6000 to get a copy of the JFMIP report, Improving Travel Management Governmentwide.
The report is also on the World Wide Web. See FinanceNet (http://www.financenet.gov). The direct URL is gopher://pula.financenet.gov:70/00/docs/central/jfmip/travel.rpt.gop.gop. You may also use Gopher. To get a menu, use this address: gopher: //gopher.financenet.gov.
This article appeared in Reinvention Express, September 25, 1996, Vol. 2, No. 20