To evaluate disability claims, the Veterans Affairs Department needs a bunch of information from the Defense Department on individual cases, which in an ideal world would get digitally zapped from one department to another.
This is far from an ideal world, particularly when it comes to the Defense/VA nexus, as Allison Hickey, undersecretary for benefits at VA, told a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Wednesday.
Hickey said Defense prefers paper to digits, which means VA gets “virtually no information from DoD electronically.”
And, if VA needs more info from Defense, Hickey said it takes the Pentagon 175 days to dig it out.
The VA claims backlog stood at slightly over 900,000 this Monday, and I guess we should now blame the Pentagon for this sorry state of affairs.
Bob Brewin joined Government Executive in April 2007, bringing with him more than 20 years of experience as a journalist focusing on defense issues and technology. Bob covers the world of defense and information technology for Nextgov, and is the author of the “What’s Brewin” blog.