Stragglers make a dash for the Y2K finish line

Stragglers make a dash for the Y2K finish line

By Shruti Dat', Christopher J. Dorobek
and Frank Tiboni

GCN Staff

With just four months left in the year, the Office of Management and Budget has stepped up monitoring of the relatively few mission-critical systems that are not year 2000-ready.

Increasingly, however, there are fewer and fewer concerns about federal systems, said John A. Koskinen, chairman of the President's Council on the Year 2000 Conversion. He said no federal agencies are on his critical list.

Even the Agency for International Development, which had long been the year 2000 laggard, has finished work on fixes for six of its seven mission-critical systems, he said. The Defense Department has also made great strides in fixing its 2,107 mission-critical systems, he said. As of July 22, DOD had finished year 2000 work on 92 percent of those systems.

The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed it has fixed all its systems, Transportation Department deputy chief information officer Kim Taylor said. Furthermore, DOT inspector general Kenneth M. Mead and independent verification and validation contractor Science Applications International Corp. of San Diego have approved FAA's work, she said.

Kathleen Adams, the soon-to-depart assistant deputy commissioner for systems at the Social Security Administration and co-chairwoman of the CIO Council's Year 2000 Committee, said she is not concerned about any federal systems.

'I truly believe at this point the biggest issue we have is making sure that public behavior doesn't cause problems that would be much worse than any computer glitch,'' she said.

The next OMB quarterly report, due out next month and based on data agencies submitted Aug. 13, will show that most agencies have all but completed their year 2000 fixes. Koskinen said he expects the upcoming report will show that at least 95 percent of systems are ready.

Meanwhile, OMB has ratcheted up the monitoring of systems still not ready.

'Over the past several years we have made great progress in addressing the year 2000 problem,'' OMB director Jacob J. Lew noted in an Aug. 12 memorandum.

Now, Lew said, the government needs to focus on any unfinished systems, tests to ensure critical service programs will continue to operate and plans to assure that agencies can carry out their daily business.

Most of the agencies that had unready systems as of May are still working on them. NASA, which had only two mission-critical systems left to fix, has completed its work, NASA CIO Lee Holcomb said.

'Stay the course. That's the message we're sending out,'' Holcomb said.

Several agencies that had outstanding systems are now awaiting the installation of the validated fixes. That has been one of the big logistical issues for DOD, Koskinen said.

The Justice Department has also been working to roll out fixes at its foreign offices, said Don Wolfrey, Justice's year 2000 program manager.

'It is later than we would like because there were some procurement problems for some of the systems,'' Wolfrey said. Justice received some year 2000 emergency funding, which helped move the process along, he said.

The systems in 15 of Justice's 35 foreign offices have been fixed. The system fixes at the others will be completed between October and December, Wolfrey said.

The IRS will be ready, officials said. 'We think we are in good shape,'' said Jim Weaver, chief of information systems, applications and telecommunications oversight. The IRS looked at the functionality of systems across its centers, fixing some and retiring others.

'It was a way of reducing redundancy,'' Weaver said.

The agencies that have completed their work continue to run tests and to hone contingency and business continuity plans. Andrea Norris, NASA's year 2000 program manager, said the space agency soon will conduct an extensive end-to-end test of the space shuttle systems.

The shuttle will be on the launch pad, and the countdown will run to eight seconds from liftoff to ensure the systems work, Norris said.

NASA is also checking that other changes made to systems did not introduce date code problems. 'This is a dynamic technological environment,'' she said.

Keep on pushing

Meanwhile, OMB is also pushing agencies that run what it calls high-impact programs to conduct end-to-end testing. Lew has also told agencies to run demonstrations to illustrate readiness.

The lead agencies for these programs must provide OMB with monthly updates on their progress, Lew said.

What's the status of still-unready civilian systems?


  • New Management System: in the validation stage; scheduled to be fixed by Oct. 30


  • Foreign Agricultural Service's Financial and Accounting System: fixes to be deployed by Oct. 1
  • Food Safety and Inspection Service's
    e-mail system: scheduled to be ready by Oct. 1
  • Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's Laboratory Information Management System: in remediation phase; scheduled to be ready by
    Sept. 30
  • The department will retire five other systems by year's end.


  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Aeronautical Charts Automated Distribution System: scheduled to be fixed by Sept. 30


  • Enhanced Badgeworks System used for access control at the Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M.: fixes scheduled to be deployed by Aug. 31.
  • Energy will retire three other systems in the next 45 days.

Health and Human Services

  • Indian Health Service's Resources and Patient Management System: fixes scheduled to be deployed to a remaining 26 of 166 tribal-run sites by Sept. 30


  • Drug Enforcement Administration's Office Automation System: scheduled to be ready in December
  • FBI's Legal Attach' Technical Architecture: scheduled to be ready in December
  • Justice Management Division's DataLib: scheduled to be fixed by Aug. 30
  • U.S. Trustees Automated Case Management System to track bankruptcy cases: scheduled to be fixed by Oct. 30
  • Office of the Inspector General's Network for Information and Telecommunications Exchange: fixes scheduled to be deployed to a remaining eight of 14 sites by Oct. 30


  • Coast Guard's Differential Global Position System: scheduled to be fixed by Aug. 30
  • Coast Guard's Command and Control Personal Computer System: scheduled to be fixed by Sept. 30
  • Three Coast Guard systems that monitor navigational aids: scheduled to be fixed by Sept. 30


  • IRS' Appeals Automation Environment: scheduled to be fixed by Aug. 31
  • IRS' Automated Underreporter: scheduled to be ready by Dec. 6
  • IRS' Combined Annual Wage Reporting System: scheduled to be fixed by Oct. 31
  • IRS' Office of Collection's Decision Support System: no readiness date given
  • IRS' Office of Service Center Operations systems: no readiness date given
  • IRS' Tax Returns Database: no readiness date given
  • IRS' Trust Fund Recovery Penalty System: scheduled to be ready by Sept. 30

As of mid-May, Treasury had a total of 34 mission-critical systems, including those of the IRS, that were not ready. The department last week would not provide status information.

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