recommended reading

Delayed projects prompt Congress to cut VA's IT budget

Congressional appropriations committees cut the Veterans Affairs Department's requested fiscal 2011 information technology budget, with House members saying it chose to hold back spending for some IT projects because they are behind schedule.

The Senate sliced $160 million from VA's requested $3.31 billion IT budget request, and the House cut $85 million. Rep. Chet Edwards, D-Texas, chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies, said in a statement released on Tuesday the committee was disappointed systems development at the department continues to fall behind schedule, leaving large balances of unspent funds.

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and VA also said in the report accompanying its version of the department's fiscal 2011 spending bill, which was released on Tuesday, that unspent IT funds from previous years were the reason it made cuts.

The Senate said VA has limited IT development spending due to the Program Management Accountability System Roger Baker, chief information officer at VA, instituted in June 2009 to help correct long-term program failures by asking customers, vendors and programmers to focus on delivering systems incrementally. The Senate said it supports the program, but still cut VA's IT budget rather than provide funds that are not needed next year.

The Senate also restricted the obligation of IT development funds until either VA Secretary Eric Shinseki or Baker submits certification letters to the House Appropriations Committee identifying the projects and programs that should receive funding in fiscal 2011 and how much.

Baker and VA's Office of Information Technology also must provide an IT expenditure report to the committees on a monthly basis, the Senate said in its version of the VA spending bill. The report should compare the project costs included in the certifications letter and provide an explanation for differences that exceed $1 million.

The Senate also wants VA to do "a better job of harnessing new technology" to speed the processing of disability claims, which in 2009 exceeded more than 1 million for the first time and are expected to increase more than 13 percent this year to almost 1.2 million.

The Senate directed VA to use a portion of the $40 million it had requested for the Veterans Benefits Administration Innovation Initiative to run a procurement for commercial off-the-shelf technology to develop a decision support system to automate VBA's ratings process.

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

    Download
  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.