OMB: Some agencies will miss Y2K deadline

OMB: Some agencies will miss Y2K deadline

The federal government is not likely to meet the March 31 deadline for Y2K readiness, but it will come close, according to the most recent study of federal agencies' progress compiled by the Office of Management and Budget.

The report found that 79 percent of federal mission-critical systems were Y2K-ready by the end of January in its eighth report on federal progress. A spokesman for the White House's Y2K council said that 90 percent would be prepared by the deadline, two weeks from now.

Sen. Robert Bennett, R-Utah, the Senate's lead Y2K watcher, said that 90 percent is nice, but it's not close enough to claim a total victory.

"With this problem, if you're 10 percent non-compliant, you're non-compliant," Bennett said at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce meeting Thursday. "The majority of federal agencies will function."

As Y2K readiness has increased, so have federal costs. OMB's study estimates that the government's Y2K efforts will top $6.8 billion, up from the $6.4 billion estimate in December. The increase was expected as more agencies get a clearer idea of what needs to be fixed and replaced.

Five federal agencies-the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Small Business Administration and the Social Security Administration-report they are 100 percent Y2K-ready.

OMB still has "serious concerns" about the Health and Human Services, the Transportation Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

The Defense and Treasury departments, among others, are "making progress," but have more work to accomplish.

In a parade of Y2K hearings before House and Senate lawmakers, federal officials have maintained their confidence that they will be ready for the 2000 date change. As the agencies finish their work, they plan to focus more energy on ensuring their state and local counterparts are ready, as well.