The Veterans Affairs Department will soon start a new program to take advantage of VA employees’ expertise nationwide, President Barack Obama said Monday.
Obama announced the program at the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Phoenix, Ariz., where he spoke of the agency’s need to better serve veterans. He said asking employees for their ideas can help solve many of the VA’s critical problems, including the backlog of more than half a million veterans’ claims.
Obama said he’d told VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra, Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra and Chief Performance Officer Jeffrey Zients to establish a competition to find the very best ideas employees have to improve the VA.
We’re going to challenge each of our 57 regional VA offices to come up with the best ways of doing business, of harnessing the best information technologies, of cutting red tape and breaking through the bureaucracy. And then we’re going to fund the best ideas and put them into action, all with a simple mission: cut those backlogs, slash those wait times, deliver your benefits sooner. I know you’ve heard this for years, but the leadership and resources we’re providing this time means that we’re going to be able to do it. That is our mission, and we are going to make it happen.”