DOD agrees with IG, builds new system to track code work

ASD-C3I’s Arthur Money says
an improved database for Defense agencies’ use is in the works.





The Defense Department is fielding a new database to track progress on
year 2000 programs.


DOD began work on the database in May. It had been using the Defense
Integration Support Tools database to monitor date code work departmentwide.


Last month, the Defense inspector general gave the department a slap on the wrist and
called DIST an inadequate database for monitoring DOD systems that need year 2000 fixes.


Without a complete inventory, Defense cannot properly assess departmentwide progress in
correcting problem date code, the IG concluded. The potential risks are high if DOD
doesn’t have a database for tracking its year 2000 efforts, the IG report said.


The report, DOD Year 2000 Computing Problem Reports: Lessons Learned From the Defense
Integration Support Tools Database, offers advice on creating the replacement database.


“Currently, DOD has no viable repository of year 2000 information that DOD
managers can use for tracking, reporting, monitoring and overseeing DOD year
2000-compliance efforts,” the report said. “Previously, DOD used [DIST] as the
official repository of DOD year 2000 information, but discontinued it for year 2000
use.”


DOD classified the data in the DIST as secret in early February based on a National
Security Agency review that determined that the database’s vulnerability was a threat
to national security. DOD decided in March that the services and DOD agencies should no
longer use DIST to track and report its year 2000 efforts.


When DIST was still unclassified, it listed thousands of DOD systems, applications,
interfaces and data exchanges. The services and agencies were at one time required to
register their information systems in DIST or risk losing funding for their systems.


The Navy relied heavily on DIST to coordinate year 2000 remediation efforts. The Army
and Air Force used their own databases and tracking mechanisms.


One of DIST’s biggest shortcomings was inaccurate data for many of DOD’s
systems, the IG found.


The Army and Air Force found hundreds of discrepancies when they compared their own
databases to DIST, a recent General Accounting Office report showed [GCN, June 1, Page
49].


The IG urged DOD to develop a new and accurate database. The IG report wants the new
database to do four things:


DOD officials said they agree with the IG’s findings, which was one of the reasons
they began developing the new database.


“We feel that the new year 2000 database addresses your recommendations and will
satisfy basic Y2K tracking requirements,” said Arthur Money, the senior civilian
official in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control,
Communications and Intelligence.


“The new database maps more directly to the OMB reporting requirements and the
added data that the Office of the Secretary of Defense feels is important to
collect,” he noted in a written response to the IG report.


DOD began building the new database in the spring after service and Defense agency
representatives hammered out details on data fields, Money said. Unneeded data fields were
deleted, but some data fields were kept as blank entries for future use, he said.


“The result is an improved approach to the tracking of information with the
detailed information remaining in the component-level database,” Money said.  

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