Cohen: Fix date code or I'll halt new app efforts

Defense’s
William Cohen says DOD will study military progress in November and December.





Defense Secretary William Cohen this month threatened to suspend software development
in the military if the services do not repair date code quickly enough.


In a Aug. 7 memorandum to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the services and Defense
Department agencies, Cohen said he would impose a software development moratorium if DOD
fails to make sufficient year 2000 progress by year’s end.


“We will take a hard look at progress in November and December,” Cohen said.
“If we are still lagging behind, all further modifications to software, except those
needed for Y2K remediation, will be prohibited after Jan. 1, 1999.”


DOD continues to fall behind in year 2000 work. Defense officials have predicted that
the military will not finish repairing its code on time.


“DOD components have continued to show progress, but the rate of information
technology and national security Y2K remediation has not accelerated to the point that
will ensure compliance of all systems by the DOD’s Y2K milestones,” said deputy
Defense secretary John Hamre in an Aug. 17 letter to the Office of Management and Budget.


DOD estimates that since May, the number of systems on which work has fallen behind at
least two months has increased from nine to 51. DOD also increased its count of
mission-critical systems from 2,803 to 3,135.


“We’re not satisfied that we’re moving fast enough,” DOD
spokeswoman Susan Hansen said. “We thought we would move faster than we have because
the goal is to fix most systems by the end of this calendar year so we can spend next year
in testing.”


Cohen also directed the chairman of the Joint Chiefs by October to create a Joint Year
2000 Operational Evaluation Program.


Cohen’s memo had four orders:

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  • When cybersecurity capabilities are paid for, but untapped

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