US soldiers traveling to Japan submit their travel documents to the military electronically upon arrival, much like their peers will in Germany, Italy and Belgium, according to a US military spokesperson in Japan.
Soldiers assigned to permanent change of station, or PCS, in Japan launched the new system in January, U.S. Army spokesman Manuel Torres-Cortes told Stars and Stripes by email on Friday. They are expected to complete their travel voucher themselves via the Defense Finance and Accounting Service’s online system, SmartVoucher.
Troops assigned to South Korea will continue to fill out travel vouchers through their financial services after their arrival, Eighth Army public affairs officer Neil Penttila told the Stars and Stripes by phone Friday.
The move to the online system is part of the military’s effort to have more administrative tasks done virtually when possible.
Soldiers moving to Germany, Italy and Belgium will need to use the new online system from June 1 upon arrival or risk not being reimbursed for some of their moving costs.
“It’s kind of like a TurboTax system, where it asks questions, and then the answers to those questions are what build the right PCS,” Kimberly Jordan, director of the 266th Finance Support Center in Kaiserslautern, Germany, told Stars and Stripes Thursday. .
Once completed, the voucher is sent to the soldier’s finance office for final review before being submitted to DFAS, Jordan said.
Soldiers are advised to fill out the voucher on the day they arrive in Japan to ensure that they are paid correctly and that their salary is not frozen.
Soldiers with a myPay account automatically have access to SmartVoucher, so no registration is required. Even after filing the application online, soldiers should still contact their unit’s finance office upon arrival.
Only soldiers are required to submit the request to SmartVoucher under the new policy; other military branches have their own rules.
Stars and Stripes reporter David Choi contributed to this report.