VA And Defense Dept. Began Paying For New Records System While Still Funding Abandoned One

Noel Brinkerhoff | AllGov | August 29, 2013

Members of Congress have been demanding for years that the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) work together so the records of military personnel could be seamlessly shared between the two agencies, and that veterans could avoid paperwork problems that delay receiving health and disability benefits. But the Pentagon and the VA each had their own, separate computerized record-keeping systems, which led to agency leaders to decide on developing one system that the two bureaucracies could share and satisfy the mandate from lawmakers.

The attempt to create just one set of records wound up costing the government at least $1.3 billion, and after four years of trying, the two agencies gave up earlier this year on the project that turned into a technological money-pit. In fact, officials found themselves still paying for the abandoned effort while starting on Plan B, which called for the Defense Department and the VA to have separate computer systems that would (hopefully) communicate with one another via some kind of linking software.