“Over the last four years, VA IT has come to be recognized as a leader in federal IT. We have improved our relationships with our IT customers; established one of the highest performing product delivery organizations in the world; achieved visibility to our networks and medical devices; focused our decision-making based on metrics and not by anecdotes; and become an IT organization that is seen as an investment for the VA rather than an expense,” Baker wrote in a letter to staff, which Federal News Radio obtained. “Most critically, VA IT has become the backbone for the transformation of the VA into a 21st Century organization that the secretary has envisioned. Your ability to deliver the technology necessary to support that transformation and to reliably meet our commitments to our customers is fundamental to that transformation.”
Baker led VA’s efforts to use mobile devices, implement the technology behind the Post-9/11 GI Bill and improve the department’s claims-processing system.
He also was first out of the gate during the Obama administration to use a data-driven review process to cancel, slow down or improve IT projects. VA used the Performance Management and Accountability System (PMAS) to halt 45 projects that were off of their schedule, over budget or missing deadlines.
The agency now says it delivers nine out of 10 projects on time and on schedule.
Baker also worked closely with the Defense Department to create an interoperable electronic health record.
This was Baker’s second stint in government. He was deputy CIO at the Commerce Department from 1998 to 2001. He also worked in industry for General Dynamics IT and CACI.