I heard about it today. You may think, "Oh, someone you know has MUMPS." No.
MUMPS, it turns out, is some sort of computer programming language. Alta? DoD switched to Alta on some long-worded project (whose acronym starts with "C") and that harmed the program that was created (they did it to have control over decision making).
Where did I hear this and more?
At today's Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee hearing. The witnesses?
Oh, how they loved their jargon. And how they assumed not only did the rest of us but that we knew it.
More relatable were comments like, "Huge costs to the tax payers, nothing to show for it." Senator Mike Johanns made that statement. It was simple, it was to the point and you didn't require a certification in programming to follow the conversation.
Of the witnesses, Belinda Finn was often the easiest to follow. She's in the VA's Inspector General's office. After her it would be Roger Baker with the VA's IT department.
That's why there was so much jargon: It was a hearing on IT.
Speaking to Mr. Johanns, Baker stated, "We wrestled mightily with implementing the Chapter 33 system and a lot of it was because of the short time frame to get it implemented and then the fact that it was very popular with the folks using it. And so we had a relatively poor IT system that VBA had to use in that first semester and we saw the impact of that. Veterans did not get paid in a timely fashion. With another year, we're able to implement the longterm solution much better."
I wish that had been followed up and explored at length.
But there are a number of IT programs they had to cover. And, as C.I. points out in the snapshot, Committee Chair Daniel Akaka deserves credit for both calling and holding this hearing. Congress ended their session last week. I'm sure he -- and Richard Burr and Johanns and Scott Brown -- all have other things they could be doing, fun things, this is their break. But they showed up for the hearing and I do give them all credit for that.
Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"