Defense IG calls DISA's date code work on mainframes inadequate

The Defense Information Systems Agency is not adequately preparing date
code on its mainframe systems at Defense Department central data processing centers, the
DOD inspector general reported late last month.


The report, Evaluation of the Defense Megacenters Year 2000 Program, found problems in
three areas: reporting, testing and contingency planning.


“DISA year 2000 status reports for executive software were incomplete and could be
misinterpreted,” the report said. “As a result, DOD is at risk of classifying
mission-critical systems on mainframe computers as being year 2000-compliant when they are
not.”


Because DISA does not plan to test nonstandard hardware and equipment for year 2000
readiness, some mission-critical applications at DOD’s megacenters might fail, the IG
said.


Although DISA decided to establish contingency plans and issued guidance to the
megacenters on year 2000 work, DISA officials need to expand the guidance, the IG report
said.


The guidance is not clear on how the megacenters should respond to system failure, the
report said. Without comprehensive contingency plans, the megacenters might not be able to
continue some mission-critical operations if systems fail, the report said.


The megacenters handle most DOD mainframe data processing on Unisys Corp. and IBM Corp.
systems. DISA late last year decided to consolidate its 16 megacenters at six sites to
reduce infrastructure, personnel and operating costs.

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