The JFTR should be changed to allow members to both seek less expensive travel options on an individual basis, as well as benefit from those savings.
Frequently, the government rate for airfare, hotels, and rental cars is much higher than the rates available to travelers making personal reservations.
Similar to the Personally Procured Move program that allows PCS'g members to capture a monetary incentive for finding the most cost-effective manner for their personal needs, the JFTR should allow members to seek reasonable and appropriate savings measures while capturing a portion of the savings.
For example, a member travels to an area where family members reside. The member desires to stay with family for 7 days in lieu of government or commercial quarters. The arrangement does not affect mission accomplishment. The member's commander/supervisor should have the authority to approve the alternate arrangement and the member should be paid X% of the cost savings (50%?)
Or... a member travels to city X. His/her travel coordinator books a hotel at the government rate of $140/night. The member notices another suitable hotel has a rate of $69/night. The member should be able to receive a percentage based payment for finding and staying at the less expensive option.
People, even military members still make choices based on risk and incentive. Increasingly, legal and ethical financial incentives will motivate commanders and their units to steward government resources better.
This program will need to be agile and delegate authority to commanders/supervisors to avoid fraud, waste or abuse. However, saving money in a complex organization like the DOD will require a complex and adaptive solution that recognizes the risks and incentives to stakeholders at all levels.