Management

VA CIO 'excited' about FITARA implementation progress

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The co-author of the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act received a welcome update from the Department of Veterans Affairs CIO LaVerne Council on her agency's FITARA implementation progress.

"The VA earned a C rating in the initial scorecard for compliance to FITARA, which actually is one of the higher grades," Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) told Council during a March 16 subcommittee hearing. "Why do you think you got, relatively speaking, such a good grade as the baseline, but within that grade were other categories such as the data center consolidation [where] you got an F?"

Council took that opportunity to address some of the concerns. She noted that VA has processes in place that will move the agency toward 100 percent implementation.

"I use it as a guide post," Council said of the scorecard. "It allows us to really take ownership and hold ourselves accountable for the capabilities that have been put in our hands by having this legislation."

"We are excited," Council continued. "If we can get hit everything that we plan on in 2016, we will be the premier governmental agency of FITARA." That answer presumably pleased the Virginia congressman, who along with Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) crafted the legislation and guided it to passage in late 2014.

In her written statement, Council talked about VA's Enterprise Program Management Office and the creation of the Enterprise Cybersecurity Strategy as critical initial steps toward implementation of FITARA. EMPO is the office that hosts the department's most critical IT programs, including the Vista health record system and the medical appointment scheduling system. She said the EPMO's risk assessment and risk management efforts are key to meeting FITARA requirements.

Council also noted that VA just revised its data center consolidation plan, and that she hopes to eliminate 70 data centers by 2019. Increased use of cloud services will be key to that consolidation, she added.

About the Author

Aisha Chowdhry is a former staff writer for FCW.


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