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Opening Statement of Hon. John T. Salazar, a Representative in Congress from the State of Colorado

Thank you Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, I’m a potato farmer, and in the thirty years that I’ve been farming I’ve seen how technology has changed farming operations all over the world.

Change and advancement are inevitable when it comes to technology.  It’s the nature of the beasts.

A farmer can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a single piece of equipment, but unless that farmer knows how to manage that machine and manages it correctly, that tractor will destroy the crops the farmer is attempting to harvest.

We could have the most advanced technology in the world, but it’s useless if we fail to manage it properly.

A year ago, we heard about an employee of the VA who had his laptop stolen, potentially compromising the personal records of over 2 million veterans.

Since then, important steps have been taken by the VA to minimize the possibility of these types of things from happening in the future.  Some of these steps have been taken voluntarily by the VA and some have been mandated by Congress.

Last year, there were major changes in the management of IT affairs at VA, and this hearing is a chance to get a reading on the impact of that change.

This hearing and the multiple hearings we’ve had in the last few years like this one are about more than just the IT department in a government agency. 

The records being kept by VA belong to real people; men and women who served our country during both times of peace and times of conflict.

I look forward to the testimony from our witnesses I hope to get a better sense of where the Department is and where it plans to go with the technology it has in its hands.