DOD, VA to smooth transition

The Department of Veterans Affairs and the Defense Department reached an agreement April 21 to smooth the way for service members to move from active duty to veteran status.

The ability to transfer data from DOD to VA quickly, easily and securely is a key element in making the transition seamless. Therefore, the joint strategic planning initiative will depend heavily on information technology systems to improve access to benefits, streamline application processes and eliminate duplication.

In addition to improving the technical capabilities of DOD and VA information systems, an information sharing task force will be established to develop a plan to automate data collection so necessary information is received in timely and accurate manner.

VA and DOD also plan to improve the coordination of their business processes to better manage capital assets, take advantage of their combined purchasing power, develop complementary workforce plans and find ways to enhance other key business functions.

"Our aim is to build a world-class partnership guided by principles of collaboration, stewardship and leadership," said David S.C. Chu, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness. "This approach will help us provide the best value for our beneficiaries as well as the taxpayer. It also recognizes both our common and unique mission requirements and ensures accountability for the results."

Veterans Affairs Deputy Secretary Leo Mackay said the plan provides the framework for "delivering high-quality services and benefits to service members and veterans. It ensures the process will continue into the future."

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