Defense's 2000 fix estimate keeps inching up

The Defense Department's estimate on what it will spend to rework its code to handle
dates come Jan. 1, 2000, keeps creeping upward.

DOD's current estimate is $1.2 billion, roughly half of what the Office of Management
and Budget figures the entire government will spend on year 2000 fixes.

But Emmett Paige Jr., assistant secretary of Defense for command, control,
communications and intelligence, has made it abundantly clear to both the military
services and Congress that no new money will be requested for this work. Any additional
funds the services or DOD central organizations need must come from existing operation and
support accounts, Paige said.

Last month in a year 2000 action plan it submitted to Congress, DOD estimated it would
spend about $970 million on code conversions. One week later, in response to a
congressional query, DOD increased that estimate to the $1.2 billion figure.

"I submit that as we continue the assessment, that figure will continue to
rise," Paige testified before a House subcommittee on Feb. 24. "However, again,
we are not going to come and ask for an additional bank of money to solve this

DOD estimates that it will cost $1.10 per line to revise code for its administrative
systems and $8 per line to convert code for embedded weapon systems.

Agencies in the renovation and validation phases primarily started on the problem
early-as early as 1991 in some cases, Paige said.

In May, DOD will publish a year 2000 management plan that will outline the department's
strategy and provide guidance on topics such as prioritizing systems, retiring systems,
scheduling code updates and monitoring interfaces with systems outside DOD.

"The [$970 million] figure that we presented to OMB we furnished them reluctantly
because we figured first that someone would try to hold us to the figures," Paige
said. "As far as we are concerned, the figures are not very important in terms of
getting on with the job because we've tried to emphasize to everyone, 'Don't use the year
2000 expecting that it will provide funds to bank other things.' "

DOD has a five-phase approach on the date code work: awareness, assessment, renovation,
validation and implementation.

So far, Defense has taken inventory of approximately 9,300 systems that need code work.
About half of those systems are in the assessment phase, and another third are in the
renovation phase. DOD officials said it will eliminate more than 560 systems.

Stay Connected

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.