There is only a brief mention of Chuck Hagel in the unofficial history of the Veteran Affairs Department's venerable VistA electronic health-record system, but comrades in arms, even in a fight to develop a computer software system, have long memories.
The role of Hagel, a former U.S. senator from Nebraska and President Barack Obama's pick for secretary of defense, warrants the following account on the website of the Hardhats, an informal group of programmers who have worked on VistA over the past 36 years. The citation says only the following about his brief tenure at the VA in 1981 and 1982:
“What is clear is that this ban has produced some 'undercover' development of clinical computer programs that use MUMPS ... superior to the few systems now slated for installation,” the Hardhats history recalls. “Congressional staffers began investigating. The VA's Chief Medical Director, Dr. Donald Custis, felt himself under pressure. The Administrator of the VA (newly appointed by the new President), and his bright young deputy Chuck Hagel, appeared willing to take a fresh look at things. Could the 'conspiracy' finally hope to make a bid for legitimacy?”