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The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has developed the notorious reputation for failing veterans due to a variety of issues.

The agency is taking the first steps to address one of its main problems, and that relates to contract closeouts. Officials think that Blockchain may be a solution, and it’s put out a request for information to get the ball rolling.

Let’s discuss.

RFI

To be clear, this is not a request for proposals, or RFP. It is a request for information. The department is seeking information from industry players about how Blockchain can help.

One of the specific areas that the RFI seeks advice relates to how Blockchain can be used in “routine government contract procedures, and in particular, contract closeouts.”

Apparently the VA has had problems finding solutions that can help it integrate the various sources of information needed to verify a contract has been completed and is free of outstanding claims and disputes.

In the RFI, it is stated:

“Because considerable resources are invested into this repetitive process, Blockchain technology has been identified as a possible means to alleviate almost all the labor involved in government contract close-out procedures.”

Understanding Blockchain

Like many government officials, VA officials don’t have a firm grasp on how Blockchain works. The RFI notes this by stating Blockchain is a new application of an unexplored technology, and that the VA is surveying the industry base.

The VA seeks responses from industry leaders and experts to identify how this technology can be utilized to best fit the Government and benefit taxpayers.

Contractors should be able to provide a proof of concept that can show whether Blockchain can handle current closeout procedures, including possibly retroactively applying them to all pending contract closeouts, states the RFI.

If it gets to the point that a contract is awarded, it would span six months. If the selected contractor produces adequate solutions, the contract could be extended.

Next steps:

The VA has not made a commitment to procure any contract. The RFI notes that the request “should not be construed as such a commitment or as authorization to incur cost for which reimbursement would be required or sought.”

RFI proposals will be accepted through July 31, 2018.