After lag, DOD starts year 2000 renovations

Like most agencies, DOD is managing the date code problem with a five-phase process:
awareness, assessment, renovation, validation and implementation. But faced with the
daunting task of assessing the multiple interfaces among complex weapons systems, DOD
failed to meet the June deadline for completing assessments of its 3,695 mission-critical
systems, DOD officials said.


"We missed the June date because when you look at an F-16 and all of the different
interfaces that it has, you can't compare that with a Department of Agriculture farmer's
business dollar dispensing system," said Anthony Valletta, acting assistant secretary
of Defense for command, control, communications and intelligence.


Congress last month gave DOD an overall grade of C' in addressing its year 2000
problems in large part because the department had not finished the assessments. Even now,
the services must finish assessing a few systems.


"It's not an apples to apples comparison when Defense has 3,695 critical systems
to review and the other agencies have 700 or 800," Valletta said. "Our
interfaces go all over the place and have interfaces within interfaces. It's taken a lot
of hard work, and now we'll get down to the renovating."


DOD's plans call for the services to complete the renovations by December 1998. Then
DOD plans to validate the code fixes by January 1999 and complete all year 2000 work by
November 1999.


But not all mission-critical systems are ready to begin renovations, service officials
told Cohen.


Though the Army has all of its mission-critical systems out of the assessment phase,
the Air Force still is assessing 18 systems and the Navy is reviewing two.


DOD will use the military services' Oct. 15 briefing to Cohen as the basis for its
quarterly report to the Office of Management and Budget, which is due Nov. 15.


DOD pegs its current estimate for fixing code at $1.5 billion.


"I think it will grow a little bit more than $1.5 billion as we start to do the
work, but I don't see it going drastically higher than that," Valletta said.


With the exception of the Navy, the services have held the line on cost.


The Army estimates it will spend $502 million. The Air Force plans to spend $405
million.


But the Navy has raised its year 2000 estimate by $90 million, to $325 million. The
Navy said in August that it would spend $235 million on the date code work.


"The program's coming in with better assessments, and we do anticipate that the
costs are going to go up," said Commander Gary Evans, the Navy's year 2000
coordinator. The final figure is still not available, he said.


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