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AF trying to aid reservists with travel process

Jan. 17, 2013 - 09:32AM   |   Last Updated: Jan. 17, 2013 - 09:32AM  |  
Michael Burgess, Air Force Reserve Command chief of financial operations at Robins Air Force Base, Warner Robins, Ga.
Michael Burgess, Air Force Reserve Command chief of financial operations at Robins Air Force Base, Warner Robins, Ga. (Staff Sgt. Alexi Saltekoff / Air Force)
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The Air Force is looking to change travel rules and hire dozens of full-time technicians to ease travel headaches for reservists.

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The Air Force is looking to change travel rules and hire dozens of full-time technicians to ease travel headaches for reservists.

Travel for Reserve airmen has long been more complicated than that of their active-duty counterparts. Reservists are forced to process their orders through their base financial services office through the Air Force Reserve Order Writing System; the orders then get processed at the Air Force finance center in South Dakota. If the travel voucher encounters any errors, the order has to be sent back to the base for correction, a process that could be repeated several times and take weeks to resolve.

Problems develop because of the reservists' short travel schedules on temporary duty assignments.

"[Reservists] sometimes operate under multiple sets of orders: for example, back-to-back orders, overlapping orders, etc.," said Michael Burgess, Air Force Reserve Command chief of financial operations at Robins Air Force Base, Ga., in a release. "And it can become a minefield of complexity."

AFRC is hiring the technicians to help reservists through the new travel maze, command spokesman Philip Hughes said. By December, 31 of the 68 positions had been filled, all by civilians.

The new rules are already in place at Headquarters AFRC; Barksdale Air Force Base, La.; Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.; and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

By February, the system is expected to be in place at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.; Patrick Air Force Base, Fla.; Hill Air Force Base, Utah; Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz.; and Beale Air Force Base, Calif., Hughes said.

The command expects to implement the rules at all Reserve installations by May.

The Defense Department has mandated that all travel processing be electronic by December.

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