3:44 PM EDT
Chris Chocola, R-IN 2nd

Mr. CHOCOLA. Mr. Chairman, in 1998, the Department of Defense had a very good idea. They had the idea that they should consolidate the literally millions of trips DOD personnel made every year on an electronic-based travel management system that would result in quicker, easier, and more efficient travel and thus saving taxpayers money.

Despite the good idea, Mr. Chairman, 8 years and almost $500 million later, what we have is a no-bid contract to develop a system that is essentially inoperable, has pitifully low utilization rates, and cannot even guarantee it can book the lowest applicable airfare. Therefore, Mr. Chairman, my amendment would simply limit the money available to fund this failed effort, which is known as the Defense Travel System, or the DTS.

Now, I know that some will oppose this amendment and they will say that we cannot afford to stop the investment now because we have invested so much and we are so close to success. The unfortunate reality is that we must stop now because we have wasted so much and success is nowhere in sight. I think that argument has been made in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, and now 2006; and I think it is time to cut our losses.

After 8 years of development and almost $500 million spent, less than 15 percent of all DOD travel is actually booked on the system. Logically, that means over 85 percent of the travel in DOD is booked on traditional travel services. Every trip that is booked on the system is also manually reviewed by a travel agent to confirm that the transaction is complete and that it has attained the lowest applicable airfare because the system cannot guarantee that it can attain the lowest applicable airfare.

So if you divided the amount of taxpayer money we have invested in this system with the number of trips that have actually been successfully booked on this system, each transaction costs about $1,500 before the actual travel cost or the travel agent fee. And what makes this situation even worse is that there are other GSA-approved electronic-based travel systems that are fully operational today and do not cost the taxpayers one penny in maintenance or development cost and only charge on a per-transaction

basis for every successful transaction when it is actually used.

Mr. Chairman, spending $.5 billion on a travel system that does not work and nobody uses might actually be worse than the days when the DOD spent $640 on toilet seats. At least people used the toilet seats.

Mr. Chairman, I encourage my colleagues to support the amendment.