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04 Nov 21. Biden administration picks former Microsoft exec for VA CIO. Kurt DelBene, a former senior executive at Microsoft and an instrumental figure in the effort to repair the HealthCare.gov website during the Obama administration, is being tapped to serve as CIO at the Department of Veterans Affairs. VA is one of the few agencies with a presidentially appointed, Senate-confirmed CIO. The full title of the post is assistant secretary for information and technology and CIO. The technology unit at VA has its own appropriations line and manages the technology portfolio, cybersecurity and more for the major divisions at VA, including Veterans Health Administration and the Veterans Benefits Administration. The job is frequently filled with career officials in an acting role. Since 2009, there have been just three Senate-confirmed occupants of the VA CIO post. The job is currently being filled by Neil Evans, a VA physician who heads the Office of Connected Care in the Veterans Health Administration. VA is seeking a $4.8bn appropriation for the Office of Information and Technology for fiscal year 2022. OI&T is also playing in increasingly important role in the ongoing $21bn-plus Electronic Health Care Record Modernization (EHRM) program. A longtime Microsoft executive, DelBene took leave from the company in late 2013 to replace Jeffrey Zients as the lead of the team working to stabilize and improve the HealthCare.gov website, the front door for citizens to obtain health coverage under the Affordable Care Act. The website famously failed at launch and required an intensive effort to scale the site and improve its performance. DelBene’s career at Microsoft included stints as executive vice president of corporate strategy, core services engineering and operations as well as president of Microsoft’s Office division. He retired from the company in September 2021. He has also served as a member of the Defense Innovation Board. (Source: Defense Systems)
SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, has been providing lifelong support to our Forces and their families since 1885. In 2020, our teams of volunteers and employees helped more than 79,000 people in need, the currently serving (both regulars and reserves), veterans from the Second World War and those who have served in more recent conflicts, as well as their families. SSAFA understands that behind every uniform is a person. And we are here for that person – any time they need us, in any way they need us, for as long as they need us.