Horn issues final Y2K report cards, chastises agencies that still aren't ready

Horn issues final Y2K report cards, chastises agencies that still aren't ready

Rep. Steve Horn says the Justice Department is a worrisome exception to government progress on year 2000 work.

By Shruti Dat'

GCN Staff

In the final round of year 2000 report cards from Rep. Steve Horn, the federal government eked out a B+ overall.

But the Federal Aviation Administration, the Justice Department and the Treasury Department received severe criticism from the California Democrat because they still had mission-critical systems that were not ready as of last month.

Fifteen agencies received an A. The Agency for International Development showed the most improvement, moving from a D in August to a B.

Justice received a D, dropping from a C- in August. Treasury earned a C. FAA, as part of the Transportation Department, did not receive its own grade, but DOT earned a B.

Rep. Constance A. Morella (R-Md.), chairwoman of the House Science Subcommittee on Technology, said the government had made recent progress on the year 2000, and she credited efforts by John A. Koskinen, chairman of the President's Council on the Year 2000 Conversion.

Horn, however, said, 'The most troubling exception is the Justice Department, which still has three mission-critical systems to fix.

'The department does have a contingency plan,' said Horn, who is chairman of the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Management, Information and Technology. 'But the plan is worthless because it has not been tested.'

Stephen Colgate, assistant attorney general for administration and Justice's chief information officer, disagreed with Horn's assessment.

'There are contingency plans in place for all mission-critical systems in Justice, and each contingency plan has been verified and validated by an independent contractor,' he said.

The three systems that Horn said were unready are office automation systems that provide word processing and administrative support, Colgate said. Each system has cleared year 2000 testing but is waiting to be fully deployed this month, he said.

The IRS still needs to conduct a full inventory of its computers at field locations, Horn said. The tax agency reported computer inventory discrepancies in its Atlanta and Philadelphia service centers.

Only 25 of the 43 federal programs designated as high-impact by the Office of Budget and Management are ready, Horn said.

'Together, these programs provide the most basic needs for millions of Americans'education, food, shelter and medical care,' Horn said. He pointed out that state, local and private-sector partners share most of the blame for these problems.

Horn, who will fly from Los Angeles to Dulles International Airport near Washington on Dec. 31, said FAA's systems are a major concern.

Joel Willemssen, the General Accounting Office's director of civilian information systems, said FAA must finish testing integrated systems and some communications systems.

Morella said the latest grades are not the final exam for the federal government.

'The effective and uninterrupted delivery of federal services will be really the true standard for which the government will be ultimately graded,' she said.

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