Information Technology: Department of Veterans Affairs Faces Ongoing Management Challenges: Congressional Testimony

DIANE Publishing
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The use of information technology (IT) is crucial to helping the Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) effectively serve the nation's veterans, and the VA has expended billions of dollars annually over the last several years to manage and secure its info. systems and assets. VA has, however, experienced challenges in managing its IT. Reports have previously highlighted VA's weaknesses in managing and securing its info. systems and assets. This testimony discusses past reports on VA's weaknesses in managing its IT resources, specifically in the areas of systems development, info. security, and collaboration with the DoD on efforts to meet common health system needs. Charts and tables. This is a print on demand report.
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DIANE Publishing
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Aug 31, 2011
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Although the Y2K crisis was finite, it led to the development of initiatives, processes, methodologies, and experiences that can assist in resolving ongoing management challenges. First, Y2K demonstrated the value of sustained and effective bipartisan oversight by both the Senate and the House of Representatives; they highlighted the issue and provided needed resources. Second, leadership, commitment, and coordination by the federal government, which included periodic reporting and oversight of agency efforts, were major reasons for the government's Y2K success. Third, the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion and individual agencies formed working partnerships with other agencies, states, other countries, and the private sector. Fourth, communication within agencies, with partners, and with the public was vital to coordinating efforts and ensuring an appropriate public response. Finally, the federal government implemented initiatives that helped ensure that necessary staff and financial resources would be available to agencies. Individual agencies also gleaned lessons from their Y2K efforts that can be carried forward. Specific management practices that contributed to Y2K success included top-level management attention, risk analysis, project management, development of complete information systems inventories and strengthened configuration management, independent reviews by internal auditors and independent contractors, improved testing methods and procedures, and business continuity and contingency planning. By continuing and strengthening these practices in the future, federal agencies are more likely to improve their overall IT management record, particularly in the areas of critical infrastructure protection and security, the effective use of technology, and large-scale IT investments.
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