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Government charge card required for Air Force travel

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas (AFNS) -- A recent change to a Defense Department travel instruction strengthens enforcement of an Air Force policy that requires travelers to use a Government Travel Charge Card, also known as an Individual Billing Account.

Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center’s Traffic Management team coordinated with Air Force Logistics Readiness and the Air Force Accounting and Finance Office officials to reduce the use of central billed accounts and reinforce the policy to use a GTCC for all authorized travel expenses during temporary duty, deployment and permanent change of station travel.

The AFIMSC Traffic Management team provides oversight over the Air Force Passenger Travel Program with responsibilities to ensure active duty Air Force Central Billed Accounts are promptly reconciled to avoid prompt payment penalties. The team identified the excessive amounts of fees levied when utilizing the CBA versus the IBA across the Air Force and worked diligently with Air Force officials to put in place policy and procedures to save government funds.

Allowances in the DoD policy challenged officials with enforcing the Air Force policy that was established in 2008, according to Floyd Haralson, Headquarters Air Force Travel Policy office. When travelers did not use a Government Travel Charge Card, their travel expenses were reconciled through Central Billed Accounts, a more expensive process.

“Now that the DoD instruction has been revised, we are able to put Air Force policy in place to ensure we meet DoD and secretary of the Air Force objectives of reducing cost to our Air Force travel program,” Haralson said. “It is important that all Air Force members, including Guard and Reserve, are aware that there are very few exemptions to using the Government Travel Charge Card for official travel.”

Darryl Hamilton, AFIMSC’s chief of Traffic Management for Cargo Movement and Passenger Travel, said the Air Force has a robust mission that requires thousands of DoD military and civilian personnel to conduct travel through the Air Force’s travel program each year.

“The Air Force travel program can be very expensive, and in these times of fiscal constraints, it is important for us to look for ways to be more efficient and save costs,” Hamilton said. “One of the ways we can help reduce unnecessary expenditures is to ensure members obtain and utilize their personal GTCC to the maximum extent.”

The Air Force processed 225,604 transactions for Air Force travelers in fiscal year 2017 on Air Force Central Billed Accounts, which cost the Air Force $66.86 per transaction. By comparison, the cost for travel disbursement using IBAs was 64 cents per transaction.

Leaders at all levels and agency program coordinators must ensure travelers take steps to secure their GTCC before making travel arrangements, Hamilton said.

“This is a significant win-win for the Air Force,” said Darrell Haraway, Air Force GTCC program manager. “The benefits from use of the GTCC will reduce the workload in reconciling CBA invoices, limit risks associated with airline tickets, reduce DFAS processing costs and reap huge rebates for the Air Force under the GTCC program.”

Defense Travel Administrators, Approving Officials, APCs, along with commanders and supervisors at the wing and base level have a huge role in effective enforcement of the policy, Haraway said.

“We understand people at all levels may have to adjust how they view the payment process of the Air Force’s official travel program,” he said.

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