2017 Rising Star Awards

Ruchika C. Croall

Director, Enterprise Program Management Office, Information Assurance, Department of Veterans Affairs


Using technology to help improve the lives of veterans is personal for Ruchika Croall. A former Army logistics officer, the 37-year-old now spends her days as acting director of the Enterprise Program Management Office, Information Assurance, at the Department of Veterans Affairs, where she works to keep IT systems and data safe.

“When I help another veteran, I’m helping myself,” Croall said.

VA officials credit her with helping the department move from a waterfall-like iterative project management style to an agile process with three-month IT sprints and builds. She also provides IT project management training to over 400 agency employees and contractors every week.

When officials needed someone to launch a new information assurance office, they naturally turned to Croall. As part of that effort, she reviewed the authorities to operate for more than 175 software systems at the VA — and she did it in three months.

Bill James, deputy assistant secretary at VA’s Enterprise Program Management Office, said Croall’s work building and maturing the department’s information assurance initiatives has had as much of an impact as her work on transitioning IT operations to an agile process, if not more so.

Authorities to operate “are by their very nature hard,” he added. “There’s a lot of detail, a lot of guidelines, and Ruchika’s insights into the complexity of the system really came through.”

Croall said creating a new office in an organization as large and complex as VA comes with its own unique set of challenges. Chief among them is finding a way to improve existing business processes to add value but not red tape. It also comes with unique benefits.

“To me, it’s fun standing up a new office because I get to set the standard, and then everyone can be measured against my standard instead of me being measured against theirs,” she said.

Click here for more on all the 2017 Rising Stars

Note: This article was updated on Oct. 13 to correct Croall's title.

About the Author

Derek B. Johnson is a former senior staff writer at FCW.


  • Workforce
    By Mark Van Scyoc Royalty-free stock photo ID: 285175268

    OPM nominee plans focus on telework, IT, retirement

    Kiran Ahuja, a veteran of the Office of Personnel Management, told lawmakers that she thinks that the lack of consistent leadership in the top position at OPM has taken a toll on the ability of the agency to complete longer term IT modernization projects.

  • Defense
    Soldiers from the Old Guard test the second iteration of the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) capability set during an exercise at Fort Belvoir, VA in Fall 2019. Photo by Courtney Bacon

    IVAS and the future of defense acquisition

    The Army’s Integrated Visual Augmentation System has been in the works for years, but the potentially multibillion deal could mark a paradigm shift in how the Defense Department buys and leverages technology.

Stay Connected