OMB exec: Feds need to finalize year 2000 contingency plans now

The Office of Management and Budget will increasingly focus on year 2000 contingency
plans as agencies enter the final stretch for making their date codes ready, a senior
administration official said.


“Contingency plans are extremely important,” said G. Edward DeSeve,
OMB’s deputy director of management and chairman of the Chief Information Officers
Council.


The plans, however, must look beyond internal year 2000 problems an agency might have
and consider what would happen if there are problems with systems that feed into the
agency, he said.


OMB, as part of the most recent quarterly reports, is reviewing such plans, he said.


“We’re looking for realistic, credible contingency plans. Those who
don’t have them are going to get a call from me,” DeSeve said. He also said
those agencies should expect calls from John Koskinen, chairman of the President’s
Council on Year 2000 Conversion.


After agencies have made the plans, the next step is to be prepared to execute them if
necessary, DeSeve said last month at an Armed Forces Communications and Electronics
Association luncheon in Washington.


Agencies cannot use the excuse of lack of funding to delay work on the plans, DeSeve
said. “If people need any other money for contingency funding, they should let us
know,” he said.


OMB is looking at parceling out the $3.35 billion in emergency funds allocated by
Congress as part of the omnibus spending bill. About $1.1 billion of that money is
targeted at Defense Department systems and $2.25 billion for civil agencies.


“The resources are available,” DeSeve said.


OMB, however, will be thrifty, he said, because there undoubtedly will be many
last-minute problems that arise.


“It’s wonderful to fund what you know, but it’s even more important to
have a little bit extra for what you don’t know,” he said.


There have already been requests for emergency funds, he said. The requests must be for
year 2000 emergencies, so the need must be unforeseen, DeSeve said.


“Some people have forgotten,” and some agencies have made requests that are
not exactly related to 2000 readiness, he said.


As to the last-minute problems, DeSeve said that he expects the government will have to
make some unexpected fixes to federal systems.


“We’re also concerned that we will need to do some major contingency
workarounds” with government contractors and other data exchange partners, he said.
 

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