IG: VA should re-evaluate technology agreement

An agreement between VA and Spawar is poorly administered, report finds

An agreement between the Veterans Affairs Department and the Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center to provide information technology support has implementation problems due to poor administration, according to a report by VA’s Office of Inspector General.

VA and the Spawar center entered into the agreement without an adequate analysis to determine if an interagency acquisition is in the best interests of the government, the IG said in a report dated June 4.

The agencies made the agreement in 2007 to provide technical support for analysis, planning, program review and engineering services for information management and IT initiatives.

The agreement does not include specific requirements, and VA officials chose to transfer $2.5 million to the Spawar center when the agreement was executed, the IG said, adding that since 2007, funding has increased from $2.5 million to $66 million.

VA issued 22 amendments to the agreement in support of 30 projects. Now, 26 projects are in the pipeline, which will add another $73 million to the agreement, the report states.

The IG concluded that VA and the Spawar center have not complied with the terms and conditions of the interagency agreement. For example, the Spawar center and its contractors developed statements of work and independent government cost estimates that VA officials were supposed to develop. Those statements were often general in nature and lacked specific deliverables, the IG said. Furthermore, VA officials agreed to some amendments that were outside the scope of the agreement, and unauthorized work was performed on projects that were not within the scope of the amendments.

For example, VA was unaware that the Spawar center had outsourced about 87 percent of the work requested through the interagency agreement.

The IG suggested that VA officials re-evaluate the agreement and determine whether it is in the best interests of the agency to continue obtaining services through that type of agreement.

VA officials had no immediate response to the report.

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Federal Computer Week.

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