Categorically Speaking: DTMO Category Management Initiatives.

Author:Grundy, Betsey

The President's Management Agenda lays out the long-term vision for modernizing the federal government. That vision prioritizes outcomes, service delivery, and effective stewardship of taxpayer dollars ( An important cog in achieving that vision is category management, which focuses on procuring goods and services by applying an approach that buys smarter and leverages the immense buying power of the federal government as a whole. As a procurement strategy, category management has been around in the private sector for decades and the government is finally catching up.

In 2019, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued OMB M-19-13, "Category Management: Making Smarter Use of Common Contract Solutions and Practices" (, which provides guidance on implementing category management, including the increased use of Best-in-Class (BIC) procurement solutions.

One of the "categories" identified by OMB for improved management is travel. The Director of Travel and Transportation Services at the General Services Administration (GSA), Mr. Timothy Burke, serves as the OMB-designated Government-wide Category Executive for Travel and Lodging. Mr. Bill Mansell, the Director of the DTMO, has forged a partnership with Mr. Burke to further a government-wide approach to procuring travel with this "buy as one" tactic. The results of this growing partnership reflect both the vision of the President's Management Agenda and OMB's direction to make smarter use of common contract solutions and practices, which includes some OMB-designated BIC solutions.


The Department of Defense's (DOD) $10 billion travel enterprise packs quite the punch in leveraging buying power to deliver value to its customers. More than 60 percent of the federal government's travel spend is attributed to the travel of DOD service members, civilian employees, and their families. Leveraging that substantial buying power has been integral to its strategy since the inception of DTMO in 2006. By centralizing travel functions under one organization, the Department is able to standardize management practices, leverage economies of scale, reduce administrative costs, and work towards a common set of goals with an established governance framework for managing travel. As a result, DTMO is able to bring to bear DOD's buying power to avoid costs, secure traveler amenities, and deliver an overall better travel experience.

DTMO manages its DOD travel programs through an integrated management model...

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