The web spun by the Department of Veterans Affairs to justify another $70 million in IT funding for GI Bill systems updates fell on forgetful ears.

At a recent hearing, House Committee on Veterans Affairs subcommittee on Economic Opportunity was treated to more excused by incompetent VA officials begging for dollars to fix the IT system processing those education benefits.

“This is a complex, heavy-lift effort,” retired Maj. Gen. Robert Worley II, director of VA education services, said in his testimony. VA apparently planned to launch its new system last month, but continued failures resulted in a delay until this month.

Surprised?

Some of you may recall Allison Hickey, the former Under Secretary for Benefits. She promised us a new system over 5 years ago. The original cost was around $160 million rather than merely buying an out of the box system.

RELATED: Lockheed Martin To Update GI Bill System

After more than a year, Hickey had to go back to Congress had in hand to explain why the new GI Bill system was unfinished and over budget.

How overbudget?

In 2013, Hickey had to admit the new cost of the GI Bill system was $263 million, and it was barely half done. She even bragged to Congress that it worked right more than half the time after blowing through that kind of cash.

The cost of the system was so high, and the project management was so flawed, that VBA reportedly abandoned the system’s development in favor of funding the virtual claims management system for disability compensation called VBMS.

RELATED: Broken GI Bill System Works Right Half Time

That system was supposed to be the silver bullet to fix all backlogs. Of course, that turned out to be a fish story.

And, VA is now owning up to system shortfalls that will supposedly cost $70 million. Let’s not forget that not only did VA fail to fully complete the GI Bill system, but the delays took so long that Congress created a new GI Bill before VA finished its own system.

RELATED: GI Bill Mismanagement Cost Almost $500 Million

Meanwhile, Congress seems to have amnesia about the previous failures of the system as the agency plots to jam more taxpayer dollars down another unproductive vendor duck rathole.

I love the idea of GI Bill expansion.

What I am shocked about is the length of time Congress gave VA to finally deliver the software system intended to properly process GI Bill claims.

Where is Congress to reign in the waste? Who is responsible for oversight within the Economic Opportunities subcommittee during that period?

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13 COMMENTS

  1. Another hardware fix to a software problem because the VA doesn’t own the hardware core so VA IT can’t do any fix. What a scam.

  2. At this point it’s all assholes, no elbows. “IT FIX” is synonymous for “FEED COOKIE JAR”-(all for the Vets, BS).

  3. There are 3 divisions to the VA. Health Care (VHA), Benefits (VBA) and the Cemeteries. They operate independently with different management. The VA’s Central Office in Washington DC is responsible for coordinating and management of the overall program (with Congressional oversight). During the inhouse development of the VA’s VistA software, I understand that VBA was asked to join the effort and they refused. The Cemetery division did join the effort and their system was run from the medical center’s computers. I heard VBA bought a warehouse full of personal computers with no software to run on them in the mid-90s and they went unused with no plan on what to do with them. There is never was any COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) software that could meet the unique needs of VBA and the attempts to commercially develop a system inhouse has always met with failure. Gross mismanagement is a major contributor. If they had joined VHA in development of VistA, they’d have a customized working system that could pass information seamlessly between the divisions – sadly, that never happened.

    I guess it doesn’t make much difference today because Congress and the president have mandated the VA purchase and develop a commercial product to replace VistA that will share information with DoD’s system that has yet to be proven capable of delivering what they promised. I personally believe lobbyists saw a fat cow in the VA they weren’t getting a slice of and they’re behind the mandate that requires the VA get out of the business of software development – probably because the VA staff had been so successful in their efforts that it might have caught on with private medical facilities around the country. A few medical centers are using it and saving a huge amount compared with those that listened to the flashy sales pitch from the private software vendors.

  4. VistA is free open source and programmable, still much better than anything they will develop. How many operating systems are in use at the VA, Unix, Linux, Microsoft, surely not Apple. Stop restart reboot, Stop restart reboot

  5. WTF??? When will us vets get together and say Enough is Enough!!!! Do something instead of just barking up a non-existing tree?? If we keep this up, we ALL will be dead, just like the VA wants, and we just jack our laws and let it happen!!!!

  6. yea right, so why dont they fix the problem and give us former military members back our college fund that we paid into by having it taken out of our weakly pay checks? I was told four years AFTER I got out of the Military, that I only had TWO years to use my education benefits. Nice of them to tell me this two years after they “expired” wasnt it? And I found that out when I was actually attending college and my benefit had not come in to pay for my books and other requirements. I finally got them to authorize it by claiming ignorance of the matter, but then they waited until 4 MONTHS AFTER I had to drop out of college because of lack of funds ( I went back later and finished my degree at my own cost) and I have never again asked for this education benefit and I am damn near 60 years old. I figure fool me one and you know the rest.

  7. Get Congress and the president out of the mix and let veterans run the VA for veterans. Oversite could come from the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, the AMVETS and other veterans organizations.

    Even better, don’t ask us to put our lives on the line and send Congressmen and the president to settle any disputes they get into.

      • What do you mean by that. Yes I was the Veteran’s Service Officer for my American Legion Post for a few years but didn’t think I was doing the position justice and passed those duties on to another veteran. Is that a bad thing? I worked in maintenance for the VA for many years and later in the computer department before my retirement. Is that a bad thing? I believed in what I was doing and was proud of the work we accomplished. I hate to see congress throw it all away in a very expensive move to privatize the work I was involved with. Is that a bad thing?

  8. Here’s my suggestion;

    Why not give ALL the monies to the VA in Washington DC, Congresspersons, afge members and lobbyists!
    You know, cut out the middle men, us veterans, and each year – or every few months as we watch – cut a check for the aforementioned four assholes!
    Wouldn’t that be what they want? These assholes don’t give a RATS ASS about veterans! All they care about is all those bags of Taxpayers 💰, 💰, 💰, 💰 they carry away!

  9. VA Management is so incompetent most of the time, it just blows my mind how they could be that fuckin dumb. VA management all need to be PISS TESTED, and have a checkup from the neckup, because they are delusionally impaired, the evidence should speak for itself.

  10. Dozens of fake charities scammed donations for veterans then pocketed the cash: FTC
    Mike Snider, USA TODAY Published 8:02 a.m. PT July 19, 2018

    “Americans get a patriotic feeling when they donate to charities that help military veterans and current service members – a sentiment dozens of charities across the U.S. have exploited to scam millions of dollars in donations, a government watchdog agency says.”

    “The charity, which took in about $20 million from 2014 to 2017, must pay its remaining assets, at least $72,122.36 to one or more court-approved legitimate veterans charities. Help the Vets founder Paulson, identified as a retired U.S. Army captain on the group’s GuideStar page, will also pay $1.75 million to one or more charities.”

    “The FTC and charity regulators and law enforcement officials in every state have teamed up on more than 100 actions against dozens of fake charities, which have collected tens of millions of dollars in donations of cash and vehicles and other goods, all part of scams that did not directly benefit veterans, officials say.”

    Full Article At: “https://www.kitsapsun.com/story/money/business/2018/07/19/charity-call-help-vets-scam-so-were-many-others-ftc/797959002/”

  11. Personally I have held off on saying anything negative about the new sec but he has shown his true colors and they are not red white and blue. He is just another total fucking P.O.S. who only cares about trying to make it look like the VA is going to change. Kissing the collective asses of all the VSOs.

    Secretary Of Veterans Affairs To Address AMVETS Convention
    Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie will be keynote speaker for the opening ceremony of the AMVETS convention.
    By D’Ann Lawrence White, Patch Staff | Aug 6, 2018 7:33 pm ET | Updated Aug 6, 2018

    “https://patch.com/florida/orlando/secretary-veterans-affairs-address-amvets-convention”

    Hey Wilkie you fucking P.O.S., fuck you and the VSOs you are hanging with you worthless fuck.

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