VA losing ground on GI benefits automation program, IG says

The Veterans Affairs Department has been only partially effective in automating the processing of veterans’ education benefits under the post-9/11 GI Bill, according to a new report fro the VA’s Office of Inspector General.

The Veterans Benefits Administration and the VA Office of Information and Technology are jointly overseeing work on implementing an interim solution as well as incrementally developing a long-term solution to fully automate delivery of education benefits. The IT office applied the Project Management Accountability System (PMAS) to the automation project.

The first and second increments were delivered on schedule this March and June, respectively. However, functionality was limited due to unanticipated complexities discovered during system development, Belinda Finn, assistant IG for audits and evaluations, wrote in a report dated Sept. 30.

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Meanwhile, the program still has risks, Finn added.

“In the absence of effective cost and performance controls, the Office of Information and Technology runs the risk that future long-term solution releases will continue to meet schedule, but at the expense of performance and cost,” Finn concluded.

The report recommends that:

  • The assistant secretary for information and technology put in place an independent milestone review process to ensure oversight and support decision-making on project directions.
  • The same assistant secretary develop a strategy for starting program management disciplines and accounting systems needed to support monitoring and measuring project costs.

Stephen Warren, principal deputy assistant secretary for information and technology, said in an appendix that the IT office’s officials agree with the findings and recommendations.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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Government Cyber Insider tracks the technologies, policies, threats and emerging solutions that shape the cybersecurity landscape.


Reader comments

Wed, Oct 6, 2010 Bob Donelson Washington DC

All Veterans come from the Military and all out process from the Military and surrender their CAC Credential prior to their Expiration, Term of Service. If the military and VA seized the opportunity to issue a Veterans PIV-I Credential since the Identity Vetting has already been accomplished by the military prior to surrendering the CAC, it would save the VA tremendous amounts of money. Electronic Forms could be completed as part of the out processing from the Military to the status as a Veteran providing the VA with information that would jump start the entire suite of benefits afforded a Veteran versus the current stove piped approach of one benefit at a time. The DOD, GSA, USDA and others have created full service or Universal Access Management Strategies versus one function at a time approaches which are very costly to develop and sustain.

Wed, Oct 6, 2010

What is new VA can make a mess of the most simple of projects and their new contracts shop at TAC Eatontown NJ will only makes matters worse look at T4. Shinseki has just not been able to change the VA culture of "do nothingness" the civilians are waiting him out and expect the Republicans will win the WH in 2012.

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