VA just burned through $263 million for a GI Bill tech fix minus the fix. I now have a partial list of contractors we taxpayers can thank for the hang-up.
In February, Congress held a hearing into the system problems that still exist for the Post 9/11 GI Bill processing. VA is now double over budget. After 5 years, VA still only processes less than 50% of its claims fully using the system. I included some video clips in an old post called, VA Brags: Broken GI Bill System Works Right Half The Time.
Here is the big issue – at the risk of sounding redundant: VA spent $263 million on a software solution that should have cost much less. To make matters worse, the system does not work right. It will require even more money. And, VA has ZERO plan for this year to allocate more money to fix its problems for 2013.
This means that GI Bill processing takes about as long as it used to, on average. Taxpayers spent $263 million to buy a Yugo version of a software system after paying Cadillac prices, and VA has no intention of fixing the automated system.
I got a little fired up after watching the hearing, and decided to work a little FOIA magic. I wanted to know the “geniuses” [sic] behind the problems with the GI Bill failure.
Yesterday, VA responded with an answer.
They provided the list of primary contractors but refused to give the list of subcontractors. They claimed release of those names would cause competitive harm. I find the claim to be ridiculous, but who has time to appeal a FOIA denial to the court? I’m relatively happy with at least the 15.
There is a reason I am showing you the FOIA response. Well, there are two reasons. First, I am a staff of one guy and cannot research all topics. Second, I want to encourage all readers to FOIA VA for information whenever they need data or want to investigate and issue.
In reality, I am sure some of these companies are great. But, there must be a problem somewhere. Maybe it is a VA problem. Maybe it is a contractor problem. Either way, let’s get to the bottom of it as start researching the issues.
Here is the FOIA response: