DOD is behind schedule in key date code size-up

According to DOD's third quarterly report to the Office of Management and Budget, DOD
still is assessing code for 148 of its mission-critical systems. The department failed to
meet its self-imposed June deadline for completing the assessments. The itemized list of
these mission-critical systems is classified.

In a November letter to OMB, deputy secretary of Defense John Hamre attributed the
delay to the department's size, the variety of functions performed and the multiplicity of
systems and interfaces.

Anthony Valletta, acting assistant secretary of Defense for command, control,
communications and intelligence, echoed this sentiment.

The department "has the single largest number of Y2K mission-critical systems of
any federal agency, but we expect year 2000 problems to be resolved on time,"
Valletta said.

Congress doesn't agree. The House Government Reform and Oversight Subcommittee on
Government Management, Information and Technology estimates that if DOD's current rate of
progress continues, then it will complete year 2000 work in 2012.

DOD has completed assessment of 93 percent of the mission-critical systems, renovation
of 44 percent, testing of 16 percent and implementation of 2 percent, according to reports
sent to OMB.

"We're very confident that we've got a much better handle on it now, and I think
[the subcommittee's] analysis is wrong," said Jacques Gansler, DOD's new chief
information officer, at an Armed Forces Communications Electronics Association lunch last

"We expect to achieve most of the year 2000 fixes before the end of 1999. But, on
the other hand, I wouldn't bet my life on the fact that there will be one or two that in
fact fail," Gansler said.

DOD has reduced its number of mission-critical systems from 3,695 to 3,143. "The
number of mission- critical systems has declined by 552, reflecting better criteria used
in defining mission critical systems," Hamre said.

DOD estimates that it will spend a little more than $1.4 billion fixing date code in
problem systems. The figure does not include, however, the National Security Agency, which
has a classified budget.

In related news, Valletta last month signed a memo requiring that all IT goods bought
by the military services and Defense agencies be year 2000-ready.

"For IT in the existing inventory that is not Y2K-compliant, DOD components
should, in appropriate cases, be assertive in requesting that the supplier and the
manufacturer take action to bring the IT into compliance," Valletta said.


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