With one deadline missed, agencies scramble to finish date code repairs

One of the first year 2000 milestones came and went quietly late last month.


Agencies were supposed to have their mission critical systems renovated by Sept. 30,
but only a handful of agencies met the Office of Management and Budget deadline, federal
officials said.


OMB has ordered agencies to complete testing of all date code fixes by January. All
date code work must be complete by March.


“We’re marching against really two deadlines,” said State Department
chief information officer Fernando Burbano.


Even though State will not meet the March 31 deadline, its year 2000 plan is to install
a new global system by August, he said. State officials expect that the year 2000-ready
system will do away with a lot of the department’s date code problems. OMB is
watching the project closely.


Most of the seven agencies on OMB’s year 2000 critical-care list did not meet the
September deadline, officials said. Agency officials said, however, that most of their
mission-critical systems will be ready by the March deadline.


The deadlines are important because they help agencies gauge their progress, said
William Curtis, special assistant to the Defense Department’s assistant secretary of
Defense for command, control and intelligence for year 2000. “We can measure where we
stand,” he said.


The General Services Administration has repaired 78 percent of its mission-critical
systems. “I’m cautiously optimistic,” GSA CIO Shereen G. Remez said.


At the IRS, which is reorganizing and modernizing systems, 90 percent of the
service’s code has been fixed, IRS CIO Paul Cosgrave said.


More than half of that code is in production and the rest will be in place by January,
he said. But not everything will be in place for the upcoming filing season, he said.


The IRS is still learning about the state of some of its client-server systems,
Cosgrave said. “We’ve had to play catch up on some of those,” he
said. 

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