Veterans Affairs Formally Appoints New Deputy CIO

Department of Veterans Affairs Chief Information Officer LaVerne Council announced Monday that Susan McHugh-Polley, the official who led the development of the VA’s enterprise cybersecurity strategy, is now the permanent deputy assistant secretary for Service, Delivery, and Engineering.

McHugh-Polley had served as the executive director for field operations since 2014 under Art Gonzalez, who stepped down from his post in the Office of Information and Technology (OI&T) in March. She then took over for Gonzalez on an acting basis.

“Susan has been a key voice in guiding service delivery’s role in the OI&T transformation,” Council wrote in an email to VA staff obtained by MeriTalk. “She knows firsthand how crucial SDE is to our success as an organization, and has the vision, initiative, and creativity to set her employees up for success. Her background and expertise in operations are as varied as the team she will lead, and I believe she has the ideal perspective and qualifications to oversee OI&T’s service delivery.”

Last year, Council tasked McHugh-Polley to lead a group of senior executives in the creation of OI&T’s Enterprise Cybersecurity Strategy, an aggressive effort to map out VA’s approach to information security. The group managed to deliver the strategy to Congress one day ahead of the deadline set by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs.

McHugh-Polley previously held leadership positions at the Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), where she led numerous programs targeted toward centralizing technology operations and developing telecommunications and information assurance functions.

  1. Anonymous | - Reply
    That's all well and good I guess but the V.A.system is still B.S
  2. Anonymous | - Reply
    A big overblown system with lots of corruption covering up these horrible criminal acts against nature malpractice, malpractice using the burdensome of privacy laws to to get away with it no one of importance has ever said the m-word burying the veterans flesh deeper beneath the Earth
  3. Anonymous | - Reply
    Please - don't get hysterical. Millions of people get good reliable care on a regular basis. The intake processes suck, but the care is GOOD when you get to it. Just remember - the VA is three separate pieces - Cemetaries - Hospitals - Benefits. The VA pays for research on PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury that no private business would touch.
    1. Anonymous | - Reply
      "Please - don't get hysterical" is all-in correct. It really doesn't seem like it, but there are uncorrupted folks that truly care and do want for our Veterans all that they need and have earned. We are behind the scenes trying to unravel the mess; and we are not politicians or government civilians . . . and it never seems like enough or fast enough in our book..... SIGH
  4. Anonymous | - Reply
    The VBA/BVA. is doing RICO
  5. Anonymous | - Reply
    OI&T just can't quit making terrible choices.
  6. Anonymous | - Reply
    Another useless mass of cells. Like was just said, bad choices are the only thing VA's IT leadership knows how to make. Polley is almost as bad at her job as Laverne is at hers. If this is what's going to lead the VA into the future, veterans are in serious trouble. After decades of IT breakthroughs we now have Laverne and Polley doing everything they can to use industry buzzwords and take the VA back into the dark ages as we are sold-out to every corporate sleaze bag who smiles and winks at them. In the case of Laverne it's pretty clear she's just looking for the right wink to go the route of Roger Baker and be bought to sit there and make money doing nothing. It's sad, our veterans deserve more than these kinds of people.
  7. Anonymous | - Reply
    The push to the cloud at all cost including illegal contracting maneuvers has left the VA in horrific service deliver and help desk issues. New vendor for the help desk was in extremely poor financial problems and close to bankruptcy when they won they contract they had to sell with over 2+ billion in debt. The new tool and contracting company has failed to deliver a single deliverable of the contract and are failing to follow their proposal so the VA is referring back to what had worked effectively in the past but still paying out 120 million more for the cloud tools which has less functionality.
  8. Anonymous | - Reply
    It sounds like the previous comments came from someone that is quite bitter about not being on either team or didn't get their preferred contractor selected! The new MSP (ESD) contractor obviously submitted a very strong proposal and will have to recover from the previous contractors failure and have a very strong plan to do so. From what I understand, the new tool contractor is up against a monumental task (particularly within the VA) but has met IOC requirements and will be ready for the tool to go-live as scheduled although the original date was moved from June to March. Although you may believe what you say to be true, you obviously don't have all the facts and you have an obvious bias for some reason.
  9. Anonymous | - Reply
    From what I understand, the new tool went operational as scheduled without much fan-fair - and very few minor issues. The new ESD vendor worked through some initial challenges but is working diligently to improve customer service. Considering the massive undertaking by these two vendors in implementing these two enterprise wide changes simultaneously, a fairly successful changeover to say the least. As both vendors have time to adjust their solutions and performance, VA will better serve our country's veterans! And yes - the new tool will have much more functionality as it is implemented and incorporated into the VA IT system.

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