VA Strives to Improve Veteran Well-Being in New Strategic Plan

Published: February 26, 2014


In early February 2014, the Department of Veterans Affairs released a Draft Strategic Plan for FY 2014-2020. The plan builds on the previous FY 2011 plan and VA’s past accomplishments, and strives to improve veteran well-being.

The Draft Strategic Plan drives further improvements in quality, customer service, preparedness, and management systems.  The plan focuses on integrating and coordinating improvements across benefit delivery programs and emphasizes outcomes.  

VA’s FY 2011-2015 strategic goals focused on quality, customer service, and improving internal operations:

  • Improve the quality and accessibility of health care, benefits, and memorial services while optimizing value. 
  • Increase veteran satisfaction with health, education, training, counseling, financial, and burial benefits and services. 
  • Raise readiness to provide services and protect people and assets continuously and in time of crisis. 
  • Improve internal customer satisfaction with management systems and support services to make VA an employer of choice by investing in human capital.

Highlights of VA’s accomplishments over the last four years include:  

  • Access – VA has improved awareness of, and access to, VA benefits and services.  
  • Backlog – Improvements have been made in people, processes and technology to reduce the disabilities claims backlog.  VA has a comprehensive and aggressive plan to eliminate the backlog.  
  • Homelessness – VA worked with HUD to reduce veteran homelessness by 23% between 2009 and 2013.  
  • Home Loan Program –In FY 2013, VA’s Home Loan program guaranteed more than 629,000 home loans, the largest loan volume in program history.  
  • DoD Collaboration -  VA has collaborated with DoD to ensure a smooth transition from service member to veteran.  VA and DoD collaborated on programs such as interoperable Electronic Health Records (iEHR), the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES) process, Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER), and Veterans Opportunity to Work (VOW) program.  
  • Human Capital management - VA launched the Human Capital Investment Plan (HCIP) to improve their ability to hire and retain high-quality employees, empower employees to advance their careers, improve their performance, and increase their personal development.  
  • Outreach – Much of VA’s recent outreach initiatives have focused on providing and improving access to benefits information through the eBenefit portal.  

Looking to the future, VA has established strategic goals and objectives that accomplish short term improvements, but also position VA to respond to veteran needs 15-20 years down the road.  As part of the development of the strategic plan, VA analyzed veteran population demographic trends, geographic trends, social and cultural trends, and workforce trends.  VA also studied impacts of conflict, such as weaponry, protective gear, and types of military operations. 

VA’s agency priority goals remain similar to those of FY 2011:  

  • Improve access to VA benefits and services  
  • Eliminate the disability claims backlog  
  • Decrease homelessness

The table below shows VA’s FY 2014-2020 strategic goals and related objectives:

The strategic plan also specified performance measures, evaluation and methods for monitoring progress.  No date was given for release of the final strategic plan.