E-Travel: Open for business

The governmentwide online travel system is ready, General Services Administration officials said today.

Three vendors have been certified to provide the E-Travel Service (ETS), which is one of the 24 e-government initiatives. The vendors — CW Government Travel Inc. of San Antonio, EDS of Fairfax, Va. and Northrop Grumman Mission Systems of Fairfax — were awarded 10-year contracts totaling $450 million and are ready to accept task orders, said Tim Burke, ETS program manager.

"All have successfully completed all the steps," he said. "All three vendors can accept task orders and begin to do business as a vendor."

During the past four months, the vendors have been conducing independent verification and validation and initial operational capability testing, Burke said.

Eight agencies are expected to award task orders by the end of June: the departments of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, Labor, Treasury, National Science Foundation, U.S. Agency for International Development, U.S. National Archives and Records Administration and GSA. GSA officials did not know which vendors each agency planned to work with but estimated the eight agencies represent 25 percent to 28 percent of the $450 million.

"All the agencies are required to give fair consideration to all ETS vendors as part of the process," Burke said. "We try to establish an evaluation environment for them to bring in all three vendors."

These agencies were chosen as the first to migrate to the new system because many had older legacy systems that were in the need of upgrading or were looking to change their travel processes to an automated system, Burke said. The travel systems are expected to be implemented within 30 to 90 days of the task order awards, he said.

The second batch of agencies should start awarding task orders through the summer and begin deploying the system at the end of this calendar year, while the final wave will migrate in the middle of fiscal 2005 and into 2006, Burke said. However, all agencies will choose the vendor by the end of the year to allow the companies and the agencies to plan the process, he said.

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