WASHINGTON -- The Department of Defense announced last week that it is taking steps to replace the "aging and inefficient" Defense Travel System, according to a press release.

In the Aug. 16 statement, DOD said it selected defense contractor SAP Concur to develop a business travel system prototype to replace DTS. The $9.3 million contract is expected to produce a system that will substantially lower the cost of airline tickets and help over 2 million service members and civilians save more than 10 million labor hours that they spend annually on booking business travel.

SAP Concur expects to complete the prototype within 24 months.

"We have a responsibility to ensure our resources are used in the most efficient and effective manner, and given this specific project has such a wide ranging and deep impact -- reforms with results like these are crucial," said Chief Management Officer John H. Gibson in the release. "I'm proud of the work we're executing through the Reform Management Group and initiatives like this from the Information Technology Reform Team."

The Department of Defense spends $9 billion annually on travel, with temporary duty travel comprising approximately 70 percent of all department travel vouchers.

As part of the DTS overhaul, DOD will also mandate the use of lower-cost, non-refundable airline tickets in markets without pre-negotiated fares. The contract also plans for a prototype capability to adopt commercially-available travel processes using information technology solutions, the release adds.

Overall, DOD aims for the new system to reduce costs and administrative burdens on travelers and administrative officials alike. The prototype must also meet the department's audit readiness requirements, improve customer satisfaction, and align to commercial/industry best practices.