Cohen promises 100 percent Y2K readiness'no excuses

Cohen promises 100 percent Y2K readiness'no excuses

DOD staff will work to the wire to fix, test all of its 10,000 computers running 1.5 million systems

By Bill Murray

GCN Staff

Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen is guaranteeing that 100 percent of the Defense Department's mission-critical systems will function on Jan. 1, although some commands will be fixing systems into December.

'We are treating the year 2000 as if it were a cyberattack directed at the very core of our military capabilities,' he said at a briefing last month.

Cohen said that last summer he identified the problem as a readiness issue and directed senior leadership to attack the problem accordingly.

DOD will spend $3.7 billion on date code preparations through March 2000, said Marvin Langston, DOD's deputy chief information officer.

'We are 90 percent of the way through that,' he said. 'The last increment of congressional budget supplement of $165 million is in process.'

DOD maintains 10,000 computers running 1.5 million systems, Cohen said, and 94 percent of them are year 2000-ready. Of those systems, DOD officials have identified more than 2,000 mission-critical systems, which are 92 percent year 2000-ready.

All but two of DOD's 198 mission-critical nuclear systems are year 2000-ready, and the two remaining systems will be fixed by October, said Adm. Richard W. Mies, commander in chief of the Strategic Command, which is responsible for nuclear systems.

Ninety-two percent of the 486 mission-critical and non-mission-critical Strategic Command systems are 2000 tested and fielded, with 98 percent passing testing, he said.

Strategic Command maintains 27 mission-critical nuclear systems that are fixed but that it still must field. These systems have been on hold because they are used by the RC-135 and U-2 aircraft that have been on duty for Operation Allied Force, Mies said.

By daybreak

By Sept. 30, Strategic Command officials expect to have 99 percent of their systems tested and 98 percent fielded. The command plans to reach 100 percent readiness by Dec. 31.

Although DOD officials have made progress in their year 2000 readiness efforts during the past year, Cohen said, each DOD organization has a contingency plan because 'full preparation demands contingency planning.'

Cohen also identified a positive aspect to the year 2000 readiness work. 'There is more senior-level awareness and appreciation for information technology than ever before, including an acute awareness that the government needs to keep pace with industry,' he said.

Cohen said there can be no justification for systems that are not ready by Jan. 1. 'Y2K is an enemy attack of the rarest kind. We know the time of this planned attack,' he said. 'We know the place. We know the consequences. And we know that we have absolutely no excuse not to prepare.'

DOD officials have invited Russian military officials to monitor their U.S. early warning nuclear systems in Colorado Springs, Colo., to ensure that any software problems are not misinterpreted as a nuclear attack, Cohen said. Russian officials have not yet accepted the U.S. invitation to what DOD is calling the Y2K Center for Strategic Stability, he said.

Strategic Command officials have worked on 2000 readiness since 1994 and have had a full-time team since 1996, Mies said.

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