The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a new report showcasing how the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) manages its IT projects, and found the number of IT contractors has decreased since 2017.

The report analyzed the VA’s contracts from fiscal years 2017 through 2021, a time in which the agency obligated over $25 billion to procure a range of IT products and services.

“GAO identified two major trends across this period: total contract obligations increased, while the number of contractors receiving awards decreased. Technology modernization initiatives and COVID-19 pandemic response efforts drove the growth in IT contract obligations,” stated the report.

“However, the number of new IT contracts awarded and orders issued decreased by more than half during this period—a potential driver of the decrease in the number of contractors,” it added.

GAO found that VA’s annual IT obligations increased from $4.2 billion to $6.5 billion during this period. However, the report also found that 30 contractors received about 75 percent of all of the IT contract obligations.

Since 2010, GAO has issued 35 different recommendations for the VA related to IT challenges. Yet, as of July 2022, only 22 recommendations have been implemented, leaving 13 still to be implemented.

GAO sent a copy of the draft report to VA, but the agency said it did not have a comment.

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Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.