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U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs

12/08/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 12/08/2021 19:08

At Confirmation Hearing, Tester Questions VA Nominee Tapped to Lead VA’s Office of Information and Technology

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At Confirmation Hearing, Tester Questions VA Nominee Tapped to Lead VA's Office of Information and Technology

Chairman stressed urgent need to address the Agency's top information technology needs, increase transparency, and deliver IT systems that improve care and benefits for veterans

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

(U.S. Senate) - During a Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee hearing today, Chairman Jon Tester questioned Kurt D. DelBene on his qualifications to serve as Assistant Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for Information and Technology (IT)-a position responsible for the vision, management, and operation of the Agency's Office of Information and Technology. If confirmed, DelBene will be tasked with delivering adaptable, secure, and cost-effective technology services to VA employees and veterans.

"If confirmed, you would be responsible for managing all VA information technology matters-from broadband in VA facilities, to staff laptops, to cybersecurity efforts on behalf of VA employees and veterans," said Tester. "So if your office doesn't work well, employees can't do their jobs, veterans may not get their GI Bill payments on time, and an app for veterans to schedule their health care appointments might not function…From your experience in the private sector, how would you approach setting up a process so every part of VA has its top IT needs addressed?"

DelBene recognized that while there would be tradeoffs, he is committed to working in collaboration with VA's different offices and the VA Secretary to prioritize projects that would further the mission of the Department.

During the hearing, Tester also pressed DelBene on how he would work to strengthen and increase the transparency of VA's IT operations, to make sure projects are on time, on budget, and deliver the necessary functions.

DelBene is a technology executive and former senior executive at Microsoft. In addition to his more than 15 years at Microsoft, he also served as senior advisor to the Secretary of Health and Human Services where he implemented a path forward to help fix HealthCare.gov. Prior to joining Microsoft, Mr. DelBene was a management consultant at McKinsey and Company, and earlier a software developer and systems engineer for AT&T Bell Laboratories.

Tester's Q&A is available HERE.