Security initiative paves way for travel applications

This excerpt originally appeared in the article Security initiative paves way for travel applications in the March 16, 1998 online issue of Federal Computer Week.

WEB EXTRA

Security initiative paves way for travel applications

 BY HEATHER HARRELD (heather@fcw.com

By launching a broad public-key infrastructure (PKI), the Defense Department has laid the groundwork for various advanced security applications to eliminate paper from the desks of military personnel.

While the Defense Medium Assurance Public Key Infrastructure [FCW, March 16] will provide a broad, high-level architecture, DOD officials likely will allow individual departments and agencies to choose more specific desktop encryption and digital signature solutions for various applications, according to sources familiar with the project.

Some departments, such as the Defense Information Systems Agency and the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), already have tapped a digital signature solution for eliminating paperwork from the process of authorizing and reimbursing travel expenses.

DISA, OSD, the Defense Logistics Agency and at least four Air Force bases now are rolling out products from Lanham, Md.-based Aldmyr Systems Inc. and AT&T Corp. to manage the complete travel process. From approval of travel requests to virtual booking of airline reservations to electronic reimbursement directly deposited to an employee's checking account -- all will be completed without the use of a single piece of paper.

Don Bailey, president of Aldmyr, said his company's product, Per Diem Azing, allows DOD agencies to launch electronic travel projects at a much lower cost compared with the re-engineering processes called for in a massive DOD travel system procurement scheduled for award in May, called the Defense Travel System. Aldmyr plans to market its product to various other DOD organizations, he said.

"It's available today. It's not vaporware," Bailey said. "What we would prefer is that they set up general guidance and let the organization decide what software package they want to go with."

DOD officials could not be reached for comment.

Per Diem Azing is embedded with AT&T's digital signature module and also uses AT&T's Secret Agent encryption application to send scrambled files to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service in Florida.

"Once DISA ties in the PKI...other agencies will look to this [travel] application as a way of benchmarking their paperless environment with digital signatures and encryption," said Dennis Morgan, principal with Washington, D.C.-based Federal Representatives Inc., which works closely with AT&T in assisting sales and marketing to the federal government market.