VA asks for 11 percent more but IT budget doesn't change

Department is "very comfortable" with no increase in IT, official says

The Veterans Affairs Department has requested a 10.6 percent increase for fiscal 2012,  while its IT is asking for a flat budget.

The department has asked for a $61.9 billion in gross discretionary funding for operational costs, while the department’s IT budget is requested to be $3.16 billion, the same amount approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee for fiscal 2011 in December. That's $145 million less than the fiscal 2010 enacted level of $3.3 billion.

“We are very comfortable with this level of investment in IT,” said W. Todd Grams, principal deputy assistant secretary for management, said on Feb. 14 in a call with reporters.

Related stories:

VA gets slight cut in IT budget

VA sets the telehealth table

The department also will continue to apply CIO Roger Baker’s Project Management Accountability System (PMAS) to evaluate ongoing IT development programs, Grams said.

“We have shorter milestones, and agile principles,” Grams said. “PMAS is showing an 80 percent success rate.”

One IT program that will increase dramatically is telehealth, in which mobile devices and instruments allow caregivers to provide care from remote locations. The VA, which already runs one of the largest telehealth programs in the world, wants to increase that funding by $63 million, which is a 76 percent increase, Grams said.

Due to improvements in IT programs, as well as in financial systems and other management systems, the VA in 2010 was able to eliminate three out of four longstanding material weaknesses cited on its balance sheet, Grams said. Those weaknesses involved financial systems functioning and compensation and pension liability estimates, he said.

Grams added that acquisition reforms at the VA account for $355 million savings in the proposed budget. Those savings will be achieved through greater use of reverse auctions, among other means, he told reporters.

The VA also expects to spend $183 million to deploy a new paperless system for claims processing and improve veterans’ access to benefits information.


About the Author

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

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.


  • Shutterstock image: looking for code.

    How DOD embraced bug bounties -- and how your agency can, too

    Hack the Pentagon proved to Defense Department officials that outside hackers can be assets, not adversaries.

  • Shutterstock image: cyber defense.

    Why PPD-41 is evolutionary, not revolutionary

    Government cybersecurity officials say the presidential policy directive codifies cyber incident response protocols but doesn't radically change what's been in practice in recent years.

  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group