DoD says key systems will be Y2K-ready

DoD says key systems will be Y2K-ready

The Department of Defense will have all of its more than 2,000 mission-critical computer systems prepared for the year 2000 by the end of 1999, Deputy Defense Secretary John Hamre said Thursday.

Hamre said that DoD will spend about $2.5 billion getting its systems ready. As of Thursday, the Pentagon reported that 81 percent, or 1,673, of its critical systems were Y2K-compliant.

"It's been a very extensive effort," Hamre said at a press conference. "There isn't a magic technology key that unlocks this problem."

The Clinton administration set March 1999 as the deadline for all government computers to be ready for 2000. By that deadline, DoD hopes to have 93 percent of its systems compliant, Hamre said. In the department's original management plan, which was updated in December, the Pentagon set a target of December 31, 1998 for the completion of all mission-critical Y2K work.

"The Secretary really motivated the solution," Hamre said. "When he turned to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, he said this is a war we're fighting and rarely do you know the time, the place and the date of precisely when the enemy will attack, but now we do know it's at midnight the 31st of December."

In November, Rep. Stephen Horn, chairman of the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Management, Information and Technology, criticized DoD for moving too slowly on Y2K repairs. He gave the department a D- on his quarterly Y2K report card. As of November, the department had only completed Y2K work on 53 percent of its systems, DoD reported to the Office of Management and Budget.

"It goes without saying that there is zero tolerance for error when you are dealing with the defense of our nation," Horn said.

Hamre said the department will spend the next year continuing operational testing and contingency planning.

"We're not finished yet," he said. "We've got a great deal to do."