OFFICE TRAVEL

 

The Handbook for Departing Officials provides a preliminary guidance to out-going political appointees throughout the Department of Defense and Military Departments.

Official Travel The Joint Travel Regulation (JTR) governs official travel for DoD civilian personnel. OSD personnel must use the DoD online Defense Travel System (DTS) when scheduling official travel and requesting reimbursement. All official travel must be booked through a government-approved commercial travel office. Frequent OSD travelers, three or more times a year, must use a Government travel card for their official travel.

For travel abroad, all DoD military and civilian personnel, and contractor employees must receive Level 1 Antiterrorism (AT) and Area of Responsibility (AOR) briefings before departing on private travel, or before official travel orders can be issued. Individuals with a Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) clearance must receive an additional special briefing. Your security manager can advise on how to meet these requirements.

Travel from the continental United States (CONUS) to locations outside the continental United States (OCONUS) and from OCONUS to CONUS should be undertaken only when the need is absolutely clear, and then only by the fewest number of travelers possible, consistent with mission requirements. Back to back trips by different officials to the same location(s) are strongly discouraged and should be coordinated to prevent this situation from occurring. 

Force protection planning must be an integral part of all travel planning, particularly for overseas travel. The OSD traveler and the security manager should initiate the force protection planning at least 30 days prior to OCONUS travel by checking to see if there is a special security brief(s) for the area(s) of travel and by making sure that the traveler has current AT training and has met the combatant commander’s certification requirement.


ETHICS ISSUES RELATED TO TRAVEL

The authority to accept gifts of travel and related expenses from non-federal sources is found at 31 U.S.C. § 1353, which outline proper procedures for the acceptance of gifts of travel and related expenses from non-Federal sources. When this statute applies, it shall be used to the exclusion of other authorities. At the DoD level, specific guidance is provided in DoD Regulation 5500.07-R, “Joint Ethics Regulation,” November 17, 2011. 

To accept travel payments from a non-Federal source, Heads of Component commands or organizations may delegate approval authority, in writing, to a division chief under their supervision, who is serving in a civilian position equivalent to the military grade of O-6 (Colonel or Navy Captain) or higher. Prior to authorizing acceptance of an outside payment of official travel and related expenses, travel-approving authorities must consult with their own or the traveler’s ethics counselor and obtain a written determination from that ethics counselor that acceptance is appropriate. Any offer of non-Federally funded travel and incidental expenses should be considered a gift and generally may not be accepted without prior approval through your ethics officials and the appropriate travel-approving authority.

Officials must have approval to accept payment from a non-Federal source prior to travel. Once travel has started, limited changes can be made. If the DoD has not authorized acceptance of any payment from a non- Federal source prior to travel, you may only accept payment if the following conditions are met:

  • The type of travel offered is allowed to be expensed by the existing travel authorization (e.g., meals, lodging, transportation, but not recreational or other personal expenses).

  • The travel expenses are within the maximum allowances stated within the existing travel authorization.

  • You request DoD authorization for acceptance from the non-Federal source within seven (7) working days after the trip ends.

Back to Top

If you accepted non-Federal travel support, but it does not meet the above requirements, you must reimburse the non-Federal source for the reasonable approximation of the market value of the benefit provided and claim the amount on your Government travel claim.

In addition to the criteria stated in 41 C.F.R. §§ 304-1.1 to -9.7 (2009), payment from a non-Federal source for official travel expenses may be accepted only if all of the following conditions are met:

  • The offer of travel expenses must be unsolicited and completely voluntary.

  • The gift may only be used for official travel.

  • The gift may only be used for conferences or similar functions. An offer of travel expenses to perform functions essential to a DoD mission (such as inspections or oversight visits) or to attend sales presentations will not be accepted.

The gift of travel may not create a conflict of interest. The approval authority must determine that acceptance would not cause a reasonable person in possession of the relevant facts to question the integrity of DoD programs or operations.

An offer of free travel for an accompanying spouse will be evaluated by the appropriate Ethics Officer on the basis of whether accepting the offer is in the department’s best interest.
Your Administrative Officer will provide assistance in all matters dealing with your official travel requirements. You may also contact the WHS HRD Defense Travel Service Help Desk 571-372-7575.


COMMERCIAL TRAVEL

Generally, all official travel on commercial carriers will be coach-class. However, once travel accommodations have been booked through DTS, you may upgrade your accommodations to business or first class by requesting a waiver to OMB and DoD policy, or by using personal unreimbursed funds or travel benefits such as frequent flyer miles. 

Gratuities and Promotional Items Received from Commercial Sources Promotional material, including frequent traveler benefits (e.g., frequent flyer miles, hotel/ rental car “points”) earned by travelers on official business at agency expense, may generally be kept for personal use. The promotional material must be obtained under the same terms as those offered to the general public and must be at no additional government cost. 

The use of non-contract carriers solely to gain personal frequent traveler benefits is strictly prohibited. Frequent flyer miles earned during official travel may be used to upgrade official or personal flights to business or first-class, provided military uniforms are not worn and there is no public advertisement of rank or grade.


SPOUSE TRAVEL

When authorized, accompanying spouses traveling on commercial aircraft are funded at government expense to fly coach/economy class, unless otherwise authorized. Spouses traveling in an accompanying spouse status are not permitted per diem. As an exception to policy, spouses may accompany their sponsors on commercial aircraft at government expense when at least one of the following conditions is met:

  • The spouse must participate in an official capacity at an unquestionably official function. A spouse’s itinerary may justify the spouse’s travel on commercial air at government expense if it details the specific official events of sufficient duration in which the spouse will participate.

  • The spouse’s presence at an official function is deemed to be in the national interest because of a diplomatic benefit to the United States.

  • Spouses may travel unaccompanied to an official function, provided any or all of the above conditions are met and unusual circumstances exist on the part of the sponsor that may necessitate an exception to the general requirement that the spouse and sponsor travel together. Such unusual circumstances may include unplanned or unanticipated schedule changes or compelling mission requirements on the part of the sponsor. Under those unusual circumstances, the spouse shall travel in the most cost-effective manner available.


THE EXECUTIVE MOTOR POOL

The EMP, a branch of the Pentagon Motor Pool, provides official transportation services to authorized DoD officials. As authorized by the Director of Administration, Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer (ODCMO), the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army is responsible for monitoring the activities of the EMP, and assuring it operates within the policies established by the OSD and Office of the Secretary of the Army.

Requests for a “preferred” driver are not authorized. Individual drivers should not be contacted directly. Use of EMP services is guided by the DoD Order of Precedence.

Requests for EMP support should be addressed to the Director, WHS FSD Integrated Services Division (ISD). For more information or assistance, please contact the EMP Program Manager at 703-697-2087

Back to Top


UNAUTHORIZED USE

Each individual using or authorizing the use of government-owned or government-leased vehicles must be aware that vehicles are to be used solely for conducting official business and any other use is contrary to law. Transportation must occur from business point to business point (e.g., traveling from the Pentagon to a place of business and then back to the Pentagon). Examples of unauthorized use of government vehicles include, but are not limited to:

  • Transportation of government officials to unofficial social functions, personal errands, and to transport spouses or visitors without an authorized accompanying official. Individuals requesting transportation may be required to authenticate or certify that a particular trip is necessary to conduct of official business.

  • Spouses and dependents are only authorized transportation in government vehicles when accompanied by their authorized accompanying official and when attending the same official function. The spouse’s presence must not require a larger vehicle than authorized for official passengers. The transportation of dependents, other than spouses, is appropriate under only the most unusual circumstances and is never appropriate unless accompanying the authorized official.

  • EMP authorized officials are permitted use of EMP vehicles for attendance at official functions after normal duty hours. Transportation cannot be provided to and from quarters or any portion(s), of the route thereof. Dependents or other attendees may not accompany the official in EMP vehicles unless their attendance is also required for official purposes.

  • Transportation to after-hours functions should be thoroughly documented to prevent misunderstanding when reviewed by higher officials. Generally, when multiple persons are attending the function, transportation will be provided only to the senior official representing the Department, unless the transportation requirements can be consolidated and serviced by high occupancy vehicles such as vans or buses. Transportation to these functions will be treated as an exception to policy for which prior approval is required.


CELL PHONE/TEXTING

DoD Instruction 6055.04, “DoD Traffic Safety Program,” April 2, 2010, prohibits all DoD personnel from text messaging, using cell phones, or using other hand-held electronic devices while driving any vehicle on or off DoD installations, whether or not on official government business. DoD personnel are prohibited from wearing any listening devices other than hearing aids, single ear-piece hands-free phone devices, and motorcycle driver/passenger intercom devices where allowed by law while driving any vehicle on official Government business. Exceptions to DoD rules apply when the vehicle is safely parked or the individual is using a hands-free device.

Use of hands-free devices is discouraged as they create significant distractions from safe driving performance. Another exception is for receiving or placing calls in the performance of duties from a tactical or emergency vehicle; e.g., law enforcement use of in-car mobile data terminals and other in-car electronic devices. When operating a vehicle, DoD personnel are to follow all applicable state, local and host-nation laws that are more stringent than DoD policy regarding distractions while driving (e.g., using cell phones, text messaging). Domicile-To-Duty Program Domicile-to-Duty (home-to-work) transportation is defined by 41 C.F.R. Part 102-5 (2009), as the transportation via a government vehicle between the official’s home and his/her place of duty in the NCR, either during duty or non-duty hours.

This benefit is taxable if one of the points is the official’s “domicile.” The following officials are eligible for the domicile-to-duty program: the Secretary of Defense, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, the Under Secretaries of Defense, the Chairman, Vice Chairman, and members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Secretaries of the Military Departments. Non-PAS officials may use government vehicles only for official business.

Please contact your Administrative Officer for more information on this subject.


SHARING OF VEHICLES-CONSOLIDATION OF TRIPS

In keeping with a previously issued Presidential memorandum concerning the reduction of Government waste and perquisites, and OMB Bulletin 93-11, “Fiscal Responsibility and Reducing Perquisites” (Apr. 19, 1993), the number of DoD executive motor vehicles has been reduced by approximately 50%. As a consequence, when more than one official entitled to a driver is attending the same function, they will be asked to share vehicles and whenever possible, to arrange schedules accordingly. This will permit more efficient use of EMP vehicles and possibly prevent another customer from being inconvenienced due to vehicle non-availability.


 TRANSPORTATION OF OFFICIAL VISITORS

Transportation of official visitors must be specifically authorized by the Director of Administration, ODCMO as an exception to policy. When the transportation of official visitors is authorized, it is a service of the Pentagon Motor Pool (PMP), not the EMP. Use of commercial transportation is reimbursable when used by official visitors in connection with departmental orders and should be used in all but the most extreme circumstances.


USE OF COURIERS

PAS officials are authorized to use the EMP for courier duties. Office personnel will be required to accompany the EMP driver when classified documents are being delivered or where circumstances preclude leaving the vehicle unattended. Drivers will report to the immediate office of the principal official for courier instructions and materials to be delivered. Since time involved in courier duties results in diminished availability for passenger transportation, users are urged to restrict courier use to priority circumstances. If an EMP vehicle is not available, the PMP will provide service. In these instances, an individual from the requesting office must accompany the driver.


SEAT BELT LAW

It is the responsibility of the official to comply with seat belt law. Should a driver carrying an official be ticketed because the official is not wearing a seat belt, the ticket will be given directly to, or provided through official channels to the official, who will be held responsible for payment of the ticket.


PARKING

Many destinations in the NCR, have restricted, limited, or no visitor parking facilities. Illegally parked vehicles will be towed or booted, and drivers ticketed. The Federal Government is prohibited from paying, or reimbursing drivers for the payment of parking tickets or towing charges. If they are incurred, the driver is responsible for payment.


CALL-BACK

“Call-back” refers to situations when all vehicles are committed, in which case the requestor is placed on a “waiting list” and will be notified when service becomes available. Except under the most unusual of circumstances, the EMP-serviced officials will not be placed on “call-back." An example of an unusual circumstance would be a snow emergency or a similar situation.





Contact Information:
Telephone: 703-692-5121
E-mail: WHS.2017Transition@mail.mil

Back to Top