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VA Freezes IT Budget For 2011

The Department of Veterans Affairs will focus on delivering IT projects on time, on budget, says an official.

While the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is slated for one of the government's biggest budget boosts next year, IT spending will remain flat, based on President Obama's proposed fiscal 2011 budget released on Monday.

The VA's total proposed fiscal 2011 budget of $57 billion represents a 20% increase since 2009, according to the VA.

However, IT isn't among VA budget items getting a boost, according to a transcript of a VA press conference Monday where officials discussed the department's proposed budget.

Regarding the "IT component" of the VA's budget, "our funding is frozen into 2011," said assistant acting secretary for management Todd Grams.

"That reflects our strategy in VA of, under the leadership of Roger Baker, our chief information officer, of bringing greater discipline and oversight to our project and program management," Grams said.

"So we're comfortable with this freeze while we take the time to make sure that when we commit to deliver a project or program, we are delivering it on budget, we are delivering it on time, and it has the functionality that our customers come to expect," Grams said.

The VA's total IT investment of $3.3 billion proposed for fiscal 2011 represents 2.7% of the total VA budget, said Grams.

The VA's IT budget requests "in terms of its major buckets," said Grams, include $1.3 billion related to medical programs; $381 million for benefits and memorial delivery; $527 million for corporate systems; $158 million for interagency development; and $966 million for staffing and administration.

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