VA clips wings of FLITE program

Tuesday - 7/13/2010, 1:57pm EDT

WFED's Max Cacas

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WFED's Max Cacas reports on DorobekInsider

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By Max Cacas
Reporter
Federal News Radio

The Department of Veterans Affairs has decided to terminate its Financial and Logistics Integrated Technology Enterprise (FLITE) Program, saying the financial management modernization program was too large and too unwieldy to resolve long-standing financial management problems at the agency.

FLITE is a large scale, agency wide, top-to-bottom revamp of several financial management systems at the VA which was to have been completed in 2014. But now, VA Assistant Secretary, and chief information officer Roger Baker says that's not going to happen.

We have decided to terminate the modernization of our financial management system. Three things are driving this decision. As you know, we have implemented a new program management accountability system. Under that system, we take a long hard look at whether or not we have the resources available to start a project.

The FLITE program was launched in 2008, in an effort to address a myriad of shortcomings in VA's legacy financial management systems dating back to the year 2000, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office. As recently as last year, the GAO was continuing to list the VA'S FLITE program as having substantial material weaknesses. Finally, Baker told reporters during a Tuesday conference call that enough was enough

"We will not execute the IFAS (Integrated Financial Accounting System) part of the program, and we will not implement the part of the program known as the and Data Warehouse."

Baker added that the Strategic Asset Management portion of the program will continue its development.

He also told reporters that so far, the VA has spent approximately $16 million dollars in development work on a modernization program projected to cost $400 million dollars.

Baker says the VA is expected to save most of that $400 million dollars now that the decision has been made to terminate the FLITE program, and could save as much as $80 million alone by stopping work on the IFAS portion of the procurement.

White House federal CIO Vivek Kundra told Federal News Radio that today's decision by the VA was not connected to the review of federal financial management systems that was to begin this week under the terms of Office of Management and Budget memorandum 10-26.

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