DOD still buys switches that are not ready for 2000, IG says

“It sure would be nice if the things that we bought were Y2K-compliant,” said
Army Col. Janet Hicks, who is also commander of the 516th Signal Brigade at Fort Shafter,
Hawaii.


“That sounds kind of insane to say that because we’re already into fiscal
1999,” Hicks said at the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics
Association’s TechNet Asia-Pacific ’98 conference. “But we had a switch
that was fielded since I arrived 17 months ago that is not Y2K-compliant.”


Hicks said it is unthinkable that with less than a year to go the Army is still buying
faulty switches.


“To take time now to make sure switches in our new equipment that we’re
buying are Y2K-compliant is a crime,” she said.


But Army Pacific is not the only service with switches that are not year 2000-ready. A
recent Defense Department inspector general audit found that of 268 switches identified by
the services and DOD agencies as not 2000-ready, 131 will not be compliant by the Office
of Management and Budget’s deadline this month.


In addition, none of the services or Defense agencies whose switches will not meet the
OMB deadline had contingency plans, the IG said.


“As a result, DOD telecommunications capabilities may become unstable,
unpredictable, and the cumulative impact of non-Y2K compliant operational occurrences
could result in system failure,” the IG said. “Further, DOD may miss available
vendor discounts on switch and software fixes if the required work is delayed.”


The purpose of the report, Audit of DOD Base Communications Systems Compliance with
Year 2000 Requirements, was to determine whether base communications systems met
DOD’s year 2000 requirements. Specifically, the IG determined whether selected DOD
installations had identified systems that were not year 2000-ready. 

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