Memorandum Directing Improvements in Federal Travel Management

July 30, 1981

Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies

Subject: Strengthening Federal Travel Management

The Federal Government will spend almost $4 billion in fiscal year 1981 on travel. Although most of this travel is required to carry out agency programs, instances of mismanagement and wasteful spending have continued to surface over the years. To improve the management of federal travel, I am directing that the following changes be made to travel policies and practices and would urge that the lead agencies work with the rest of the Executive Branch as they implement these recommendations:

-- Separate travel regulations for civilian employees, foreign service, and uniformed services will be simplified, standardized, and updated to assure consistent treatment of all federal travelers.
-- Travel authorization policies will be tightened, including a reduction in the use of general travel authorizations.
-- Travel services for agency employees will be improved at headquarters and principal field locations, including greater use of commercial ticketing and travel services and available discounts.
-- Greater efforts will be made in cooperation with the travel industry to expand the availability and use of transportation, lodging, and other travel-related discounts for federal travelers.
-- Travel reimbursement policies will be streamlined to include adoption of locality-based flat per diem rates for subsistence costs, improved controls over travel advances, and simplified voucher processing.

Effective implementation of these improvements will require a coordinated effort by those agencies with travel policy and oversight responsibilities. Accordingly, I am directing the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Director of the Office of Personnel Management, and the Administrator of General Services to implement the necessary changes to the regulations they promulgate. I have asked the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to coordinate the implementation activities.

These improvements are an important part of this Administration's economic reform program and its efforts to reduce wasteful federal spending. I expect the results of the improvement to include:

-- annual cost savings of over $200 million, consisting of $116 million in direct travel expenditures and $85 million in travel-related administrative costs;
-- improved control and management of agency travel expenditures; and
-- accelerated reimbursements to travelers and payments to carriers.

Ronald Reagan