FAA, unable to meet OMB deadlines, keeps its own schedule

The Federal Aviation Administration will meet its own March 31 target date for
completing year 2000 testing, FAA’s year 2000 czar said.

But that is three months past the Office of Management and Budget’s deadline. And
FAA also will miss OMB’s final readiness deadline of March 31.

The agency had no strategy for tackling the date code glitch until Ray Long became year
2000 program director early last year. The late start made meeting the OMB deadlines
impossible, Long said, but FAA has made up a lot of ground since.

As of March 4, FAA had tested 77 percent of the 116 systems that required year 2000
fixes. That includes 88 percent of the 65 mission-critical air traffic control systems,
Long said.

OMB also requires agencies to test all systems, even those unaffected by the year 2000
problem. FAA has tested 80 percent of its 626 systems, Long said.

FAA will meet its June 30 deadline for validating all systems tested, he said, and will
continue checking systems throughout the year.

The agency has also conducted end-to-end testing of its air traffic control systems.

Those systems interact with multiple systems, and the agency wants to ensure
transmissions through all interfaces, Long said.

About 30 of FAA’s air traffic control systems have completed two of three
end-to-end tests at the agency’s William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City,
N.J. The systems include computers that drive air traffic controller displays at both
Terminal Radar Control and Air Route Traffic Control Center facilities, he said. The
preliminary end-to-end testing has shown that systems will recognize the date code change,
Long said.

The House Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Management, Information and
Technology’s Year 2000 Report Card last month gave the Transportation Department an
F, partly because FAA missed the Jan. 31 OMB deadline, Long said.

“We’re held accountable to the OMB dates, but we never could have made
them,” said Long, who joined the Year 2000 Program Office after managing the year
2000 effort in FAA’s Air Traffic Services division.

“OMB and Congress at the time said we were seven months behind,” he said.
“We couldn’t have made up that time and still meet the OMB deadlines.”

FAA faces more milestones on the road to year 2000-readiness:


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