[SIGCIS-Members] Data systems still using COBOL is part of problem in managing U.S. Veterans Affairs Department; New Chief Information Officer of VA is a black woman

Clarence Townsend clarence1234 at gmail.com
Thu Sep 8 00:23:20 PDT 2016

U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald on C-SPAN Washington
Journal program 9/07/2016 indicating that one of the major issues in lack
of proper administration of the agency was that the financial management
software still being used was written in COBOL "which I wrote with in 1971
while going to West Point". Robert McDonald was brought in from Proctor &
Gamble to lead VA on 7/30/2014. His statement on the use of antiquated
management software by Veterans Affairs Dept. like COBOL is at 15min 40sec
to 16 min. 20 seconds of the interview  below:
veterans-affairs-secretary-robert-mcdonald I have also seen statements he
made in testimony to Congress about the antiquated use of COBOL software at
the VA contributing to the lack of accountability before.Does anyone in
this group know the extent of the US federal government's use of software
still written in COBOL?

Also an interesting story to pursue is that VA Secretary Robert McDonald
brought in LaVerne Council as an Assistant Secretary for Information and
Technology and Chief Information Officer for the VA in July 2015. She had
been a corporate vice president and Chief Information Officer for Johnson &
Johnson and is a black woman with one of the most senior positions in
Information Technology in the country. Brief info on her is at:
It seems like this would be an interesting story on diversity in the IT
field to pursue. I have copied some of her bio below as a possible
incentive for someone looking for a topic in the diversity and technology
field to pursue.
Clarence Townsend; Eugene Oregon
Email: clarence1234 at gmail.com

LaVerne H. Council Assistant Secretary for Information and Technology and
Chief Information Officer, Office of Information and Technology [image:
LaVerne H. Council Official Biography Image]

Ms. LaVerne H. Council joined the Department of Veterans Affairs in July
2015 as the Assistant Secretary for Information and Technology (OI&T) and
Chief Information Officer. In this role, Ms. Council oversees the
day-to-day activities of VA’s $4 billion IT budget and over 8,000 IT
employees to ensure that VA has the IT tools and services needed to support
our Nation’s Veterans.

Prior to joining VA, Ms. Council served as CEO of Council Advisory
Services, LLC and Chair of the National Board of Trustees for the March of
Dimes. In December 2011, she retired from Johnson & Johnson after serving
as Corporate Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Johnson &
Johnson’s global Information Technology group. In this capacity, she was
responsible for managing information technology and related systems for the
$61.6B Johnson & Johnson worldwide enterprise. She was a Member of the
Corporate Global Operating Committee and her organization included more
than 250 operating companies with over 4,000 information technology
employees and 7,000 contractors.

Ms. Council is a proven visionary senior executive with global experience
in the development and execution of cutting-edge information technology and
supply chain strategies in the healthcare/life sciences, consumer products
and telecommunications/hi-tech industries. In 2011, Ms. Council received
the Alumni Business Achievement Award from Ernst & Young. Business Trends
Quarterly named her as one of the top four CIOs in America in 2010. The New
Jersey Technology Council inducted her into their CIO Hall of Fame in 2009,
and the Global CIO Executive Summit named her a Top 10 Leader and Change
Agent in 2009 and a Top 10 Leader and Innovator in 2008.

2015 – Present Assistant Secretary, Information and Technology, Department
of Veterans Affairs

2012 – 2015 CEO, Council Advisory Services, LLC

2011 – Present Chairperson of the National Board of Trustees, March of
Dimes Foundation

2006 – 2011 Corporate Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Johnson
& Johnson

2000 – 2006 Global Vice President for Information Technology, Global
Business Solutions and Development Services, Dell, Inc.

Ms. Council was also a partner with Ernst and Young and led the company’s
Global Supply Chain Strategy practice. She also held leadership positions
focusing on infrastructure engineering, networking, security and enterprise
application interfaces.

2010 Doctorate of Business Administration, Drexel University, Philadelphia,

1986 Master of Business Administration, Operations Management from Illinois
State University, St. Normal, IL 1983 Bachelor of Science in Business,
Western Illinois University, Macomb,the
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