Pen pushers in Defence have found
themselves in the middle of a minefield as they push on with their
efforts to run the forces like a company.

Take the Defence Travel Card, yet another online system supposed to
make the lives of troops easier – just like the dysfunctional PMKEYS
personnel administration system. The pen pushers, however, seem to
forget that soldiers don’t do their job in front of work stations or in
phone farms and have limited computer access.

Despite
this small oversight, defence personnel have been ordered to use the
DTC or walk. They’re not impressed, particularly since the introductory
trial period has been fraught with problems ranging from cards that
don’t work or get swallowed by machines, AT style, to fouled up
bookings. Plus there’s the small matter that the Visa-linked cards
require not just one, but two, PIN numbers to operate.

The
ultimate indignity involves the card’s inability to cope with specific
amounts of money, meaning personnel can’t draw their exact entitlements
or travel allowances. Several very senior officers have rounded up
entitlements, only to find the wallopers on their trails.

At
least the military has a good tradition of fun with acronyms. The pen
pushers will be glad to hear that the system is already known as the
Defence Travel C*ck-up.

Peter Fray

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