Soldiers traveling to multiple European posts soon to use a different system for travel expense claims

Kleber Kaserne’s central processing center in Kaiserslautern, Germany is one of the first places many go to when they arrive in the country. Soldiers moving to Europe will soon have to submit certain paperwork to the military electronically upon arrival or risk not being paid. (Nicole Alberico/US Army)

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — U.S. soldiers traveling to Germany, Italy or Belgium will soon have to submit certain documents to the military electronically upon arrival or risk not being paid.

Military personnel assigned to a permanent change of position, or PCS, in Europe have filled out a travel voucher with their financial service for many years after their arrival.

But from June 1, they will have to submit those claims themselves through the Defense Funding and Accounting Service’s online system, SmartVoucher.

It’s part of a push by the military to have more administrative tasks done virtually when possible.

Soldiers moving to Europe will soon have to submit electronic travel vouchers themselves through the Defense Finance and Accounting Services online SmartVoucher system.

Soldiers moving to Europe will soon have to submit electronic travel vouchers themselves through the Defense Finance and Accounting Services online SmartVoucher system. (Maria McClure/US Army)

SmartVoucher is already working in the United States and will be familiar to some soldiers moving overseas. Its rollout in Europe is part of a planned expansion of the system, said Kimberly Jordan, director of the 266th Finance Support Center, part of the Kaiserslautern-based 21.st Theater Support Command.

“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,” Jordan said.

Once completed, the voucher is sent to the soldier’s finance office for final review before being submitted to Defense Finance and Accounting.

Soldiers are advised to complete the voucher on the day of their arrival in Europe to ensure they are paid correctly and their salary is not frozen.

“Their payroll simply won’t be correct if they don’t submit the correct one,” Jordan said, adding that wages would only be frozen in extreme cases that would not be rectified within four months.

Rob Goodenow of U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach speaks with soldiers during inprocessing at Barton Barracks, Ansbach, Germany, March 8, 2022.

Rob Goodenow of U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach talks to soldiers during inprocessing at Barton Barracks, Ansbach, Germany, March 8, 2022. (Dani Johnson/US Army)

“Initially they would be given the wrong right,” Jordan said. “They could still be paid their old duty station salary, which could lead to underpayment or overpayment.”

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.

Mary I. Bruner