10 to miss Y2K deadline

More than 90 percent of federal systems will meet the Clinton administration’s
March 31 deadline for agencies to have all mission-critical systems ready for 2000, the
administration’s year 2000 czar said this month.


Ten of the government’s 24 major agencies will have one or more systems to finish
up in the coming months, according to the latest status reports that agencies sent to the
Office of Management and Budget last month.


“The problem clearly has not been solved. There’s a lot of work to be
done,” John A. Koskinen, chairman of the President’s Council on the Year 2000
Conversion, said at the FOSE trade show in Washington.


But, he noted, the latest quarterly reports show that agencies’ date code efforts
have been improving steadily.


Most agencies are redoubling their efforts on end-to-end testing, contingency planning
and systems that may not be mission-critical but are important to operations, he said.


“We haven’t gotten out of the tunnel yet, but we will, and we hope there will
be light and that light won’t be a train coming at us,” said Kathleen M. Adams,
assistant deputy commissioner of systems for the Social Security Administration and the
co-chairwoman of the Chief Information Officers Council’s Year 2000 Committee.


In the year 2000 report released this month, OMB said 79 percent of the
mission-critical systems were ready as of mid-February, up from 61 percent in November.


Five agencies—the Environmental Protection Agency, the Small Business
Administration, SSA, the National Science Foundation and the Nuclear Regulatory
Commission—reported their mission-critical systems 100 percent fixed and tested.


The number of agencies on OMB’s red-flag list, or Tier 1, has dropped to three:
the Agency for International Development, and the departments of Health and Human Services
and Transportation.


Particularly notable is the significant progress made by the departments of Defense,
Energy and State.


The three agencies moved from Tier 1 to Tier 2, signifying they are making progress but
OMB has some concerns.


“State has worked very hard not only here but overseas,” said G. Edward
DeSeve, OMB’s acting deputy director for management, calling the agency a
“poster child for what you can do in a diverse environment.”


State has made progress in modernizing its worldwide, internal information and
telecommunications infrastructure, the OMB report said.


“This is particularly important because State is the major provider of
telecommunications services to … government agencies operating overseas,” the
report said.


The department has four mission-critical systems that will not meet the March 31
deadline; those will likely be completed by August, OMB said.


At DOD, OMB credited the actions by Defense Secretary William Cohen and deputy
secretary John Hamre, who made project managers responsible for year 2000 work.


The department’s efforts “have resulted in remarkable progress,” OMB
said, with 72 percent of mission-critical systems ready in February compared with 53
percent in November.


Energy “has made a significant leap in progress in the last quarter,” with 85
percent of mission-critical systems ready.


In November, the department reported 50 percent as ready.


Following the March deadline, Koskinen said the administration will establish monthly
benchmarks to monitor systems that did not meet the deadline.


The administration also has increased its estimate for what the government will spend
on making year 2000 fixes to $6.8 billion, up from $6.4 billion in the fall.


Most agencies are beginning to look beyond the immediate problem and are focusing on
broader issues, DeSeve said.


Agencies are also heading up various teams that are monitoring specific industry
sectors, Koskinen said. These responsibilities will increase as the new year approaches,
he said.


OMB has directed the agencies to help state governments ensure that social service
programs are not interrupted because of date code problems, officials said.


“As agencies complete work on fixing their mission-critical systems, they are now
focusing on demonstrating that programs and services, especially those critical to public
safety, health and well-being, will be operational,” the OMB report said.


DeSeve said OMB will issue guidance in June directing agencies to work with other
federal agencies, state and local governments and the private sector to ensure the
readiness of 40 public programs, such as those that handle food stamps and unemployment
insurance.     


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